Cutting-edge developments in medical technology have been demonstrated to Government Health Minister Lord Prior, during a fact-finding mission to Leeds.
Both the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have built up significant expertise in this field, much of it through partnership working and sharing the expertise of staff.
The University has a secured £100m in research grants in this field since 2008 through its Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (iMBE), and has collaborated with 44 universities worldwide.
Recent awards include:
- A Programme Grant led by Professor Ruth Wilcox, iMBE director, to develop testing methods for new knee therapies to treat osteoarthritis and other conditions, funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
- The appointment of Dr Sophie Williams as a Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research Fellow to continue developing the engineering expertise necessary to deliver artificial hips with more reliable outcomes.
The Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, a partnership between the University and the hospital trust, has recently received a £7m grant to become the only dedicated musculoskeletal biomedical research centre in the UK.
During his visit, Lord Prior, who is responsible for new drugs and medical technology at the Department of Health, met senior staff including the Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands and Professor Ruth Wilcox, Director of iMBE.
He heard an extensive presentation from Professor Paul Emery, Director of the Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit (LMBRU).
He heard how the Universitys approach to successful innovation was based on multi-disciplinary research excellence. Its results are then translated into practical use through long-standing relationships with industry and clinical collaborators, which has resulted in 22 patents and five spin-out companies being formed via the University.
At Leeds, the Government funds an Innovation and Knowledge Centre in Regenerative Therapies and Devices, through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Lord Prior was shown its operation and heard how the centre brings businesses together with the Universitys experts to accelerate commercial development of new products and services which help the body repair and restore function.
He also visited the iMBE laboratory facilities and saw the technical equipment used to produce world-leading research results.
Following his visit, Lord Prior said: "I was incredibly privileged to visit the Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering at the University of Leeds, and also to hear about the work of the Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit Centre.
"Together, they are providing vital research to the rest of the world on musculoskeletal issues. They offer hope for millions of people who suffer from a wide range of MSK and related conditions.
"Under Paul Emery's exceptional leadership, the LMBRU has created an extraordinary research capability and has demonstrated how research can translate into great patient care for people living in and around Leeds.
"It was also incredibly encouraging to see that the university is recruiting 250 new academic fellows from around the world, which is a huge vote of confidence in the future."
Journalists requiring more details should contact Peter Le Riche in the University of Leeds press office via email or by calling 0113 343 2049.