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FortisNet launched to create musculoskeletal hub

Mon 11th April 2016

This February, nearly 70 leading clinicians, academics and industry experts working in the field of orthopaedics, prosthetics and assistive technologies gathered in Hampshire to launch FortisNet. FortisNet is a unique, collaborative, interdisciplinary network in hard (bone and teeth) and soft (skin, muscle, cartilage) research that aims to develop a regional specialisation in musculoskeletal health. It should also create jobs, attract new business and retain skilled graduates locally.

Institute for Life Sciences Director, Professor Peter Smith, said: “In Southampton we have an excellent strength of expertise in this area of research - from stem cell technology, to designing better implants and prosthetic limbs, to assisting the rehabilitation of patients. By creating FortisNet, we aim to develop a hub of expertise that will connect regional and national excellence in clinical practice, academic research and enterprise. We will be working with end-users to create an effective pipeline of product development for stronger, active bodies.”

Peter Birkett, CEO of the Science Park (a FortisNet partner), added: “One of the things we find on the Science Park is that it is utterly fundamental to bring academia and business together, to work as a team to solve the problem of transitioning research into the marketplace. I think FortisNet is a really visionary project to try and achieve that.” The network was created after the University of Southampton’s Institute for Life Sciences commissioned an audit which demonstrated that there was a tremendous concentration of interdisciplinary expertise in regenerative medicine, orthopaedics, prosthetics and assistive technologies in and around Southampton.