EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Prosthetics & Orthotics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Salford
Department Name: School of Health and Society


The World Health Organisation says that there are about 100 million people globally who need prosthetic or orthotic (P&O) services and as populations age, more than two billion people are expected to require health-related assistive devices by 2030. In the UK the Disabled Living Foundation estimates that 6.5 million people live with mobility disablement, with many reliant on P&O services, including an estimated two million orthotic users. In parts of the developing world the aftermath of conflict, such as land mines, and greater rates of traumatic injuries from accidents, means there is a growing need for prosthetics and orthotics for younger people living in poor social and economic circumstances. Often they need P&O devices to stay at work and sustain their families. Poor devices, services and access to these contravene their basic human rights.
In the context of this need, we want to establish the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in P&O. This will address the national, and global, shortage of suitably skilled engineers and scientists to become future innovators in P&O technologies. Current academia, industry and care centres have limited researchers, and research activity has lagged behind rapid technology advancements. The Centre will support a minimum of 58 doctoral students whose studies will enable them to become leaders of the future. The Centre will bring together the only two P&O undergraduate education facilities in the UK (Salford and Strathclyde) with P&O research centres of excellence at Imperial College and the University of Southampton.
Our vision is for the Centre to become the national and global leader in P&O research training, and the translation of research into innovation that impacts on the lives of people each day, in developed and developing countries. The Centre will work to support training for students from low and middle-income countries (LMIC). Our students will be immersed in industry and real-world experiences which will equip them to lead the P&O sector across technology, social or economic contexts. Our aims are to:
1. Develop a new model of P&O research training and translation of research into innovation. In addition to the doctoral training, this will result in Master's programmes operating across Institutions.
2. Produce ambitious PhD research projects that will be grounded in real-world challenges, but at the cutting-edge of new biomedical science and technologies.
3. Produce a significant impact on the UK P&O industry sector by leading innovation.
4. Have an international impact by attracting an increasing number of CDT students from overseas.
5. Establish a P&O student society which will have matured into a lasting doctoral community with international reach.
6. To have a significant impact on the training of doctoral candidates from LMIC.
7. Attract additional external funding for P&O research.
Creating a new generation of P&O research leaders will, over time, have a significant economic, societal and health impact. For users, it will mean access to improved generations of assistive devices which will match the users' needs resulting in a better quality of life. Clinical services will benefit from improved service data, superior products and improved user outcomes. For industry, it will open up new market opportunities, nationally and globally. For the students themselves, they will have access to careers that have a real purpose, enabling them and their future teams to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

Planned Impact

The CDT students will help create solutions for amputees and people with debilitating conditions such as stroke and diabetes, reducing mortality and enabling them to live more satisfying, productive and fulfilling lives. These solutions, co-created with industry and people living with disabilities, will have direct economic and societal benefits. The principal beneficiaries are industry, P&O service delivery, people who need P&O devices, and society in general.
The novel methods, devices and processes co-created with users and industry will have a direct economic value to our industry partners (by the creation of IP, new products, and improved industry and academic links). Our CDT graduates will be the natural potential employees of our industry partners and for companies in the wider healthcare technology sector. This will help address the identified critical skills need and shortage leading to improvement in the UK's competitiveness in this rapidly developing and growing global market. The CDT outcomes will help UK businesses spread risk (because new developments are well founded) and more confidently enter new markets with highly skilled employees (CDT graduates).

P&O service delivery
Doctoral engineering graduates with clinical knowledge are needed to improve the deployment of advanced technologies in practice. Our main UK industry partner, Blatchford, stated: "As technology develops it will become easier for the end-user (the patient), but the providers (the clinicians) are going to need to have a higher level of engineering training, ideally to PhD level". The British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists estimates that no more than ten practising P&O clinicians have a PhD in the UK. Long-term P&O clinical academic leadership will be substantially improved by the CDT supporting a select number of clinically qualified P&O professionals to gain doctorates.

The innovation of devices, use of device and patient monitoring, and innovation approaches in LMIC should not only lead to improved care but also lower healthcare costs. Diabetes UK estimates that the total healthcare expenditure related to foot ulceration and amputation in diabetes was £1billion (2014-15), with 2/3 of this related to foot ulceration. Small innovations could lead to large cost savings if targeted at the right aspects of care (e.g. earlier adoption, and reducing device abandonment).
An ability to work is fundamental to a person's place in society and their sense of purpose and has a significant societal impact in all territories. This is perhaps greatest in LMIC where attitudes towards disability may still be maturing, and appropriate social care infrastructure is not always in place. In these cases, an ability to work is essential for survival.
Improved design approaches will impact on all users regardless of context, since the device solutions will better match local and individual user needs. Addressing issues related to prosthetic/orthotic device abandonment (e.g. cosmesis) and improved adherence should also lead to greater social participation. Improved device solutions will shift focus from what users "cannot do" to what they now "can do", and help progress attitudes towards acceptance of disability.
The majority of the global P&O users are of working age, and a key economic impact will be keeping users in work. The average age at amputation due to diabetes is just 52 in the USA but much younger in countries with less well-developed health care and trauma services (e.g. 38 in Iran). Diabetes UK reports that 35-50% of people are of working age at diagnosis and that there are around 70,000 foot ulcers in the UK, precursors to amputation. There is a similar concern for stroke survivors around a quarter of whom are of working age and are 2-3 times more likely to be out of work after eight years.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S02249X/1 31/03/2019 29/09/2027
2309751 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Jennifer Andrews
2308126 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Samuel Peppiette
2306036 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2019 31/12/2023 Devi Baruni Devanand
2302880 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Zain Mohammad Shahid
2306039 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2019 23/12/2023 Kirstie Devin
2305996 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Maxwell Marrison-Clements
2309783 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Sisary Kheng
2307995 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2019 31/12/2023 Tiereny McGuire
2306035 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Rhona Campbell
2306051 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2019 31/12/2023 Emma Lubel
2473929 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Jack Hayes
2474036 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Balint Hodossy
2473788 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Maariya Mahmood
2473991 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Hope Shaw
2473804 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Sean Donald
2473815 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Victoria Gittins
2473923 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Alice Benton
2473793 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Matthew Wassall
2473640 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Kirsty Carlyle
2473734 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2021 Tomas Talkowski
2473795 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Oliver Chalmers
2473785 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Tom Arnstein
2609021 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Benjamin Hicks
2609070 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Henry Rowan Edwards
2609157 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Laurence Russell
2609586 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Eunice Kombe
2609105 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Lauren Gracey-McMinn
2609164 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Fiona Elizabeth Sunderland
2609217 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Anthony Crossman
2609598 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Rita Kharboush
2609098 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Michael Baldock
2609144 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Nicolaas Pickard
2609089 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Morag Robertson
2609233 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Caitlin Edgar
2750977 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 29/09/2022 29/09/2026 Emily Pearson
2755850 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Lesley Davidson
2751144 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Peter Mazzey
2751061 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 MD. Raisul Akram
2755836 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Harry Thompson
2751077 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Sueyoshi Joanne Toru
2751054 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Joanne Caldwell
2751199 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Elana Nerwich
2755854 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Hannelore Williams-Reid
2751074 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Pouyan Jafarian
2751643 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Emma Curati-Alasonatti
2751632 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Lois Galletly
2755842 Studentship EP/S02249X/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Angel Galbert