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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Energy and Enthusiasm Empower FortisNet Community: “Strength through Collaboration”

Published: 2 February 2017
Alex Lewis
Alex Lewis presenting a personal perspective

'Carpe diem' - Across the world and at home, the FortisNet network is seizing the opportunity to change people's lives for the better through collaborative research and product development to build stronger bones, heal fractures more effectively, replace lost limbs, prevent injury and enhance recovery from injury and illness.

Sponsored by the Wessex Academic Health Science Network, the second annual FortisNet meeting provided the occasion for 90 like-minded clinicians, researchers, members of industry and the people who use research, to share ideas and expertise in regenerative medicine, orthopaedics, prosthetics and assistive technologies.

The audience responded with verve to the healthcare challenges and potential solutions posed in a packed programme that featured compelling contributions from individuals, clinicians, veterinary medicine, enterprise (both large corporates and SMEs), defence and academic perspectives.

Cllr Karen Hamilton (Mayor of Test Valley), Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, Alex Lewis
Cllr Karen Hamilton, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, Alex Lewis

Highlights included a moving and thought-provoking account from Alex Lewis, who shared his experience of multiple amputations; providing a powerful reminder to the network that sharing knowledge and information is fundamental to patient well-being. Consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Jeremy Latham, gave an insight into the complexities and consequences of joint replacement and the opportunities that new technology could provide. Maria Stokes, Professor of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, highlighted the importance of lifelong active living and research to find effective ways to achieve this. Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of specialist veterinary centre Fitzpatrick Referrals and Founder of The Humanimal Trust concluded the event with a passionate insight into veterinary orthopaedic practice, advocating the vision of the charity for a world with One Medicine and the cross pollination of expertise and ideas between human and animal medicine, finding disease solutions faster.

Professor Peter J S Smith, Director of the Institute for Life Sciences, said “We’ve had a fantastic turnout today. It is clear that this highly motivated community can collectively harness their expertise to improve the health of the individual, the region and the UK economy. This gusto will drive and develop our future plans.

We are committed to taking FortisNet to the next level to maximise the opportunities and influence that this network can create through collaborative projects, policy development, education, the technology pipeline and knowledge exchange.”

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President and Vice-Chancellor added, “The University strongly supports FortisNet which has the potential to drive change in health care and clinical intervention and to create synergies between the active members.”

Since its launch in January 2016, the network has expanded to include people from enterprise, clinical settings, universities and the people and organisations who use research. Fifteen collaborative projects were funded at our launch and many have grown and developed through the year. Case studies on these projects will become available. For more information on FortisNet, please visit our website  or to join please contact Dr Alexandra Mant on 023 8059 4441 or



Invited speakers
FortisNet community

Image caption:

Top Left: Frank Ratcliff (Wessex Academic Health Science Network)

Top Right: Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, Kathy Slack (Enterprise M3 LEP) and Sue Littlemore (Enterprise M3 LEP)


Middle: Cllr Karen Hamilton (Mayor of Test Valley), Professor Noel Fitzpatrick, Alex Lewis


Bottom Left: Christine McGrath (UHS), Professor Maria Stokes

Bottom Right: Janette Thompson, Dr Alexandra Mant, Professor Nikolaj Gadegaard (University of Glasgow), Professor Peter JS Smith


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