Salford researchers have won £5.3 million for a new centre for prosthetics and orthotics – the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.

The Salford University project, which is estimated to cost a total of £11 million, has secured the funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and 27 industry collaborators, including Northwestern University in the United States and Blatchford and Ossur – the global leaders in prosthetic research.

The centre will be based at the University of Salford and will train up to 60 individuals to a doctoral level, with the main aims to address the skills gap at home and abroad in this sector.

In a press release, the EPRSC says that this centre, alongside 75 others that have received funding, will “ensure the next generation of doctoral level students are equipped to tackle research and innovation challenges across the engineering and physical sciences landscape”.

The World Health Organisation has estimated that by 2030, more than two-billion people will be required to have health-related assistive devices. This raises an alarming issue for Malcom Granat, who is the Centre’s director and a Professor of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Salford.

Speaking to the University’s own news outlet, Professor Granat said: “There is a woeful shortage of research engineers deep understanding of these challenges”. He also went on to say that the centre’s main aim is to “create a talented workforce, who will be equipped to produce local and global solutions to transform lives.”

In the United Kingdom alone, the Disabled Living Foundation estimates that 6.5 million people live with some sort of mobility disablement, with a global need for prosthetics due negligent healthcare and war injuries in developing countries.

The University of Salford is one of two universities in the United Kingdom that offers a course in Prosthetics and Orthotics.

Applications for the centre open on the 14 February 2019.

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