Surgical Innovations (SI) – designer and manufacturer of creative solutions for minimally invasive (‘keyhole’) surgery – has successfully completed two Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) collaborations with both the University of Leeds and the University of Bradford, to optimise their range of laparoscopic surgery devices.

The two year KTP schemes with University graduates Tae Zar Lwin and Giles Meakin has enabled SI to utilise the knowledge, technology and skills residing in both Universities to introduce new manufacturing processes and realise new product designs.

The KTPs have engendered a close working relationship between SI and the Universities helping drive innovation in industry with both associates keen to fly the flag for UK based design and manufacture.

Giles Meakin, KTP Associate from University of Bradford, said: “I have been able to oversee the successful introduction of injection-moulding and pass on knowledge of polymer materials which opens doors in terms of design and manufacture capabilities for the business. Manufacturing directly from the Leeds site allows SI to ensure each and every device made is of the best quality.”

Tae Zar, KTP Associate from University of Leeds, said: “The KTP at SI presented the perfect opportunity for me to transition from academia into industry, combining theoretical knowledge with company-based training. I focused on optimising the Logi™Cut laparoscopic scissors, resulting in investment in a new scissor press at SI. Throughout the project I have found the on-going support from the University of Leeds invaluable and I have been able to disseminate the knowledge back to SI. I would highly recommend KTP to graduates!”

Dr Leigh Mulvaney-Johnson, Lecturer and Researcher in polymer materials and processing technologies, said: "The KTP has developed the knowledge of all parties through the specific nature of the laparoscopic application and there has been a significant development in the research interests of the polymer IRC research group with some of the materials that have been employed through the KTP activity. The KTP is an excellent basis for engaging industry with academia and developing individuals through structured training who will become embedded within the industrial organisation and form part of its future."

Professor Anne Neville, Director of Institute of iETSI at the University of Leeds, School of Mechanical Engineering, said, “KTP is able to provide a mutually beneficial solution for all involved. We have worked with SI to transfer the required knowledge and skills from the University and from this, helped to establish a new capability in the company. The University has benefited from the interaction with SI, being able to apply our skills and technology to the specialist medical device industry. This is our first time collaborating with SI professionally and it has been a great success.”

Graham Bowland, Chief Executive Officer of SI, said, “I am proud that Surgical Innovations is partnered with great institutions such as the University of Leeds and University of Bradford allowing us to draw on the skills and expertise available. Such collaborations underpin the philosophy behind the Leeds City Region’s Business, Innovation and Growth strategy, to drive economic growth through enhanced relationships and knowledge sharing with Universities, hospitals and other regional MedTech businesses.”