Student companies develop innovative medical devices

07 Dec Student companies develop innovative medical devices

Ten student interns spent the last year developing innovative medical devices with the potential to improve the lives of many. The engineering, marketing, finance and design interns formed two companies to tackle real medical challenges as part of their paid-internships at the University of Sheffield’s Medical Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)

The Medical AMRC, supported by the HEFCE Catalyst Fund, combines cutting-edge manufacturing research, technologies and clinical expertise to help companies develop new medical devices and manufacturing processes. Working alongside engineers at the Medical AMRC gave the interns opportunity to improve valuable practical engineering skills and boost their employability whilst working in collaboration with clinicians and industry.

Each team was set a challenge to research and develop an orthopaedic medical device for an unmet clinical need, as identified by two orthopaedic surgeons from Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital. The first company, Skeletec, were set the problem of solving fixation failure in patients with weakened bone. Whilst the second company, Evexia, were working to ensure accurate bone data could be available during surgical operations.

Helena Livesey, one of the Evexia interns said:

“I definitely think it is important for other students to do placements because it gives you a different perspective from what you learn at University. You gain a lot more skills including project planning and time management, which is going to be really helpful for my final year projects.”

The students researched their ideas, generated concepts, created prototype designs and attended consultant meetings. Jonathan May, an Orthopaedic Registrar from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals who set one of the challenges said:

“This project is a unique opportunity for surgeons on the front line to actually be making the decisions about what we’re using. The interns here have worked really hard over the last year and their approach to the project is completely different to how people in the medical profession would have approached it, leading to unique products.”

Now at the end of the project, Skeletec are looking into opportunities to take their innovative fixation prototype to market and Evexia and looking into further testing and opportunities to licence their medical technology. The interns have returned to complete their final year at University, taking back the skills and knowledge they have gained.

For further information on the HEFCE Catalyst Fund projects visit: www.sheffield.ac.uk/business/supporting-business/hefcecatalyst

For further information related to this article contact: Rosie Skirrow (r.c.skirrow@sheffield.ac.uk / 0114 222 1066)

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