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GCU's 3D printed orthotics research awarded Herald Research Project of the Year

17 July 2015

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has won the Research Project of the Year award at the inaugural Herald Higher Education Awards, which were held in Glasgow last night (July 16).

GCU’s submission for research in 3D printed personalised foot orthotics picked up the Research Project of the Year award, despite tough competition from the University of Glasgow.

GCU’s research through the £3m EU-funded A-Footprint project has beneficially impacted on patients’ health and wellbeing as new 3D-printed orthoses have been designed and produced, as well as helping to enhance the reputation of the institution through the achievement of ‘Flagship’ project status by the European Commission.

Disabling foot and ankle conditions affect approximately 200 million European citizens. Over £230m 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.

Following the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), GCU was ranked in the top 20 in the UK for allied health research at world-leading and internationally excellent standards.

The Herald Higher Education Awards, in association with the University of the West of Scotland, were launched in March to recognise the outstanding contribution made by colleges and universities across Scotland.

Supported by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), City of Glasgow College, technology provider Jisc, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education Scotland (QAA) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the awards also examine how colleges and universities market themselves, use technology, engage with employers, support students and promote economic sustainability.

Barclay McBain, chairman of the judging panel and The Herald's deputy editor, paid tribute the high quality of entries. He said: "My fellow judges and I were impressed by the quality and quantity of the submissions for the inaugural awards and we enjoyed a robust debate during the judging process which bore testimony to how difficult it was to choose the finalists.”