An innovative partnership - JRI Orthopaedics Ltd
JRI Orthopaedics Ltd is a manufacturer of orthopaedic implants and surgical instrumentation based in Chapeltown, Sheffield. They've been partnered with the university since 2007 with collaborations including Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, student placements and research collaborations.
The benefits of working with the University of Sheffield
Keith Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, JRI Orthopaedics, has actively encouraged the development of a successful partnership with the University of Sheffield:
“We’ve had a number of different ways of working with the University. Student placements, both undergraduate and postgraduate, and a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) have been tremendously successful."
"We’ve also done some collaborative, cutting-edge research, working with a number of different departments, drawing on their expertise and combining it with JRI’s commercial expertise of the orthopaedic market."
“My advice to other SMEs – start with something small and manageable as there is some learning involved. You need a working team that is focused on outputs and a strong sense of project management. But with all the right ingredients there’s no reason why you can’t have a successful collaboration and then build on that – building the confidence, building the trust, building an understanding of each other in order to go on to bigger and better things.”
RI and the University of Sheffield have successfully applied for a number of joint research grants from various national funding bodies, and some of the resulting projects include:
- Mellanby Centre for Bone Research: programme to develop improved bone/implant interfaces from a deeper understanding of the biological responses to coatings and other surface modifications.
- Mercury Centre: new titanium alloys and novel additive manufacturing technologies.
- Centre for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering: KTP investigating optimal interfaces between bone and implant.
- School of Clinical Dentistry: new regenerative therapeutic approaches to skeletal tissues, including novel scaffolds.
JRI is also an active participant in other University activities, including careers talks and University of Sheffield Industry Days. The company supports the JRI Prize in Bioengineering for the best final-year student and has hosted one of the Sheffield Universities' Managing Directors' club networking events.
We have had a number of projects with JRI focusing on how implant prostheses interact with patients. We both bring something to the relationship – JRI brings expertise in prostheses manufacture, and the University brings expertise in human biology.
Where we interact with SMEs best is when we can help to overcome obstacles in the project development process.
Professor Mark Wilkinson
Department of Oncology and Metabolism
A joint venture
Dr Grace Stevenson undertook a two-year project (2011–13) as a KTP Associate with JRI and the Centre for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and the Mercury Centre, which is a development centre with expertise in Additive Layer Manufacturing. JRI were interested in exploring the use of this technology for the rapid manufacture of bespoke implants.
The project’s goal was to meet clinical and patient need, increase company market share and sustain future growth. Grace oversaw the evaluation and testing of a selection of new, marketable, bioactive coatings for orthopaedic applications.
KTP's are an excellent opportunity for SMEs to develop products rapidly. Our joint KTP with JRI sped up the pipeline in terms of discovering the next generation of orthopaedic hip joints.
Professor John Haycock
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
The KTP project resulted in the development of a rapid and robust pre-clinical test method for screening bio-active surfaces with the potential for orthopaedic application, as well as a new candidate coating for commercial use.
Academic knowledge of the bone/implant interface was greatly increased, which benefits both JRI and the University. Existing relationships with partners were strengthened and new relationships with future collaborators developed.
North of England Excellence Awards 2015: Business of the Year, North of England Excellence Award, International Trade Award
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