A talented student from the University of Birmingham is to visit Sydney, Australia to present groundbreaking work developing new cements for use in bone surgery, thanks to an International travel grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Liam Grover, 24, a third year CASE PhD student sponsored by Smith and Nephew, York, UK has, after extensive research, developed a clinical cement which could one day be used in orthopaedic and dental surgery.

It is some 15 years since the development of such a compound, which differs significantly from and has significant advantages over currently available cements.

In order to surgically repair bone defects, tissue is removed from one part of the body and ‘grafted’ into another, a procedure not without risk, pain and with an obvious limit on availability. Cements that set to form calcium phosphate are ideal synthetic bone replacements being conformable, easy to apply and well incorporated into the patient’s bone. Liam has developed a new high strength degradable cement system aimed at the osteoporotic patient. His work covers microstructure-property investigations, in vitro release, stability studies and crystallography.

The Royal Academy of Engineering is committed to the support of engineering education at all levels and runs a wide variety of education schemes and awards. The International Travel Grant Scheme supports top engineering research in the United Kingdom by enabling researchers to make study visits overseas to remain at the forefront of new developments at home and overseas

The subject of tissue engineering is currently attracting world-wide attention and, with human beings living longer than ever, bone replacement materials are a priority area.

Ian Bowbrick, Manager, Post Graduate & Professional Development at the Royal Academy of Engineering says,

“The Royal Academy of Engineering exists to support excellence in engineering and to offer opportunities to our engineers. The International Travel Grant scheme is one way of doing this. Liam’s superb work in a rapidly evolving area of technology demonstrates not just great innovation but also how engineering impacts on our everyday lives.”

Liam will visit Sydney, Australia in May to present his work on his new cement formulation and meet other scientists at the World Biomaterials Congress.

Liam said,

“I am really pleased to be able to attend the conference in Sydney and present my work. This funding has helped enormously and I would encourage other UK engineers to apply.”

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  2. CASE stands for ‘co-operative award in science and engineering’ and is a type of PhD awarded by EPSRC.