3D-printed foot orthotics project awarded £77k SBRI grant
12 January 2015
Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) in partnership with the
University of Newcastle and Newcastle-based Peacocks Medical Group
have been awarded £77,000 funding for the design and manufacture of
foot orthotics using 3D-printing technologies.
The grant has been awarded by the Small Business Research
Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare, an NHS England initiative, championed
by the newly formed Academic Health Science Networks to develop
innovative products and services that address unmet health needs.
The funding was awarded following a call to address challenges in
improving diagnosis, self-management and prevention of
The GCU team, led by Dr Gordon Hendry and Professor Jim Woodburn,
will work with Peacocks Medical Group and researchers from Newcastle
University on the ‘FootFEMan’ project, which will utilise a
computational engineering tool called finite element analysis to
improve the functional design of orthotic devices for individual
The improved personalised design will then be printed using
3D-printing techniques developed previously in the team’s
award-winning EU-funded project, A-FOOTPRINT.
A foot orthotic developed by the A-FOOTPRINT
Dr Hendry said, “We are confident that we can successfully 3D
print new orthotic insole devices. This project will now enable us
to improve each orthotic tailored to the individual patient
according to whatever foot problem they have.
“We will test the new products in controlled clinical studies
here at GCU to see if we can improve foot function during walking
and further lessen disabling foot symptoms.”
Professor Woodburn added: “GCU’s collaborative partnership with
Peacocks will enable them to maintain and grow their market position
as the leading SME developing innovative and knowledge-based
Disabling foot and ankle conditions affect approximately 200
million European citizens. Over €300 million per annum is spent
treating many of these people with orthoses and splints, often
relying on hand-crafted manufacturing techniques which are slow,
costly and difficult to reproduce.
With an increasingly ageing population and a growing health
burden in long-term conditions, the global market for custom foot
orthoses continues to grow.
The A-FOOTPRINT project website: