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The University of Southampton
Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin Network

About us

Medical device-related ulcers represent a major healthcare problem, accounting for over 30% of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers

The Medical Devices for Vulnerable Skin Network (MDVSN) represents an EPSRC-NIHR HTC funded partnership led by the University of Southampton (Bader and Worsley) and Kings College London (Grocott), with support from the NIHR Healthcare Technology Co-operatives (HTCs) associated with Devices for Dignity (D4D) and Wound Prevention & Treatment and named academic and industrial collaborators.

The Network's strategic aims are to introduce cutting-edge technologies and scientific understanding in order to reduce the incidence of mechanical-induced damage of vulnerable skin caused by interventional medical devices in various clinical settings.

Following the success of the EPSRC-NIHR HTC Partnership Award: Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin Network: Optimising safety in design, the Network has been awarded an additional 'PLUS' Award. Medical Devices and Vulnerable SkinPLUS - Intelligent sensing to promote self-management ' funding was awarded July 2016. The new funding will overlap with the current MDVSN in 2016-2017 and provide the basis to expand our outreach to academic, industrial and clinical partners.

The global aim of the MDVSNPLUS: Intelligent sensing to promote self-management is to bring disruptive technologies to the medical device market to promote sustainable evolution and long-term healthcare improvements. MDVSNPLUS will work with these partners to produce cost-effective functional medical-device and sensing technologies and novel materials and designs that can minimise the risk of damage to vulnerable tissues to improve patient safety.


MDVSNPLUS is funding a series of feasibility studies aligned with our core aims and target one or more of three EPSRC Grand Challenges:

Optimising Treatment
Frontiers of Physical Intervention
Transforming Community Health and Care.

Each potential proposal will be reviewed by an independent innovation panel and assessed based on the clinical need and feasibility to translate the research findings to clinical practice.

It benefits from two expert Co-Investigators:

Professor Ralph Sinkus from King’s College London, who has extensive experience in developing imaging technologies associated with MR and US elastography. His expertise will offer the potential to establish material properties e.g. compressive modulus of soft tissues. This is critical if we are to design mechanical devices with interface materials for medical devices, which can match the properties of vulnerable skin.
Professor Steve Morgan, from the University of Nottingham, who provides expertise in optical fibre sensors, which can be used to provide a range of biomarkers at the device-skin interface. Sensing elements can either be embedded within the device or incorporated into a separate platform, such as the textile or smart bandage. This offers the potential to detect early signs of damage resulting from prolonged use of medical devices. 
MDVSNPLUS will continue to draw expertise and collaboration from our Health Technology partners; Devices for Dignity and WoundTech. In addition, a new named industrial partner (Peacocks Medical Group) will provide a basis to explore our research activities into the orthotics healthcare market.

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MDVSN Team Biographies

The Network has brought together a interdisciplinary skill mix and expertise to deliver the scientific and technological challenges provided by the research questions posed by the clinical need.

MDVSN Partners

The Network will engage with other partners and in particular our two supporting HTCs in Wound Prevention & Treatment and Devices for Dignity, who will prioritise subsequent activities based on identified clinical needs.


The Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin Network is led by the University of Southampton, King's College London and the University of Nottingham

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King's College London
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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
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U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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