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The University of Southampton

Pioneering projects win national awards for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Published: 14 October 2011
Alex Dickinson and Martin Browne

An innovative partnership to develop novel hip replacement implants, using University of Southampton research, has won a prestigious business award.


The resulting design consists of a large bearing ceramic hip replacement implant designed specifically for a young patient, to help prevent dislocation and be more compatible with living tissue.

The project, which partners the Bioengineering research group at the University of Southampton with Finsbury Orthopaedics Ltd, was selected as the Best Knowledge Transfer Partnership for the South East region by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) at the Innovate 2011 Conference this week.

Associate for the KTP with Finsbury Orthopaedics Ltd, Dr Alex Dickinson, has recently received an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral prize from the University to fund the next stage of his research.  Dr Dickinson says:

"A Knowledge Transfer Partnership was the ideal way of funding our research, combining Finsbury's innovative ideas for novel hip replacement implants with the University's expertise in biomechanical modelling and testing. The research contributed to the CE quality marking of two new implants, one of which has now been used in over 4,500 surgeries globally."

The project also supported the formation of a spin-out company from Finsbury Orthopaedics; Aurora Medical Ltd., which is continuing this work.

A second partnership between University of Southampton student Matthew Druce and geological core analysis company Geotek was also recognised. Matthew picked up of the ‘Business Leader of Tomorrow' award. He said: "The project will fulfil an unprecedented step in scientific research, facilitating the transfer and advanced geotechnical testing of pristine core samples under in situ conditions.  The knowledge acquired will be of great benefit to the offshore energy and geohazard industries, and provide new opportunities for geoengineering and climate change research."

The two award-winning projects, whilst both providing different services and solutions, both demonstrate the sharing of knowledge between the University of Southampton and businesses, for commercial, academic or social benefits. 


Joint venture: working in partnership to develop a unique hip replacement

Hip replacement operations transform lives. More than 85,000 are carried out every year in England and Wales, primarily to treat osteoarthritis, and most are very successful and give patients pain-free movement for well over ten years. However, younger, more active patients present a greater challenge. Engineers at the University of Southampton have worked closely with the orthopaedics industry and clinicians to come up with new implant solutions aimed to treat this patient group. Their research contributed directly to the development of two hip replacement products and more than 3,500 operations using the new hips have now been carried out.

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Notes for editors

1. The attached image shows Dr Alex Dickinson and Dr Martin Browne, both from the Bioengineering group at the University.

2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health and humanities.  

With over 22,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover well in excess of £400 million, the University of Southampton is acknowledged as one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine. We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.

The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres including the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Web Science Research Initiative, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute and is a partner of the National Oceanography Centre at the Southampton waterfront campus.

For further information contact:

Charlotte Woods, Media Relations, University of Southampton, Tel: 023 8059 2128, email:


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