Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing in Clinical Practice

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering


This Discipline Hopping Award will enable Dr Ruth Goodridge to spend 24 months (0.5%FTE) working in a clinical environment at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust. She will primarily be based in the Clinical Engineering Department at Queens Medical Centre (QMC), working alongside Prof. Dan Clark, but will also spend time in other departments (e.g. maxillofacial, cardiology) at QMC and Nottingham City Hospitals, and undertake an external placement at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The overall aim of her discipline hop will be to identify clinical needs where devices fabricated by Additive Manufacturing & 3D-Printing (AM&3DP) could offer significant advantages and to accelerate the implementation of devices made from AM&3DP into these areas.

Planned Impact

This discipline hop will have immediate, significant impact to the PI (who will benefit from first hand knowledge of the routes to and challenges of introducing new technologies into clinical practice), clinicians at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (who will gain greater knowledge of AM&3DP technologies and its possibilities in their field) and MHRA (who will gain AM&3DP expert input into their technology guidelines, allowing them to provide better advice and more appropriate regulations for the use of AM&3DP for medical devices).

Establishing a quicker, safer and better defined route for Additive Manufacturing and 3D-Printing (AM&3DP) devices into clinical practice will have significant benefits for researchers, industry, clinical providers and patients. Companies that specialise in medical devices will have more established guidelines for manufacturing products by AM&3DP, minimising risk in the implementation of these technologies, and potentially being able to offer improved healthcare devices at lower cost. Companies that specialise in AM&3DP systems, design and materials will in turn benefit from greater uptake of their products in the Healthcare Industry. Material developers will be able to manufacture improved materials that are optimised for these processes whilst still meeting regulatory guidelines. The Centres for Additive Manufacturing and Healthcare Engineering at Nottingham have a diverse portfolio of current industrial partners who will be able to take forward and benefit from any developments that come out of this discipline hop. Clinicians, who often take final responsibility for bespoke external devices, will have better guidelines and greater confidence in selecting manufacturing processes and materials, and will have access to wider/more effective treatment options. Patients/users will ultimately have access to more appropriate devices that have been developed through faster, more appropriate and more cost-effective implementation of new technology, resulting in improved quality of life. All groups will benefit from the closer working together of the various stakeholders.


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