Industrial Design and Technology BSc.(Hons) 2009 - 2013 Lecturer in Industrial Design & Technology
"Given Loughborough’s high-profile reputation in Industrial/Product Design, I felt Loughborough had the best resources and the reputation available to support my research."
Digitisation of the Splinting Process: Exploration and Evaluation of a Computer Aided Design Approach to Support Additive Manufacture
My PhD explored how occupational therapists and physiotherapists currently design and manufacture custom-made wrist orthoses in order to explore whether/how their processes could be replicated or improved upon in a digital setting so that Additive Manufacture (otherwise known in the public domain as 3D Printing) can be used instead. The output was a Computer Aided Design workflow depicting the Digitised Splinting process; this was represented as a software prototype for evaluation which was tested by therapists to establish a list of recommendations for future process development.
I started in October 2009, and graduated in 2013.
At that time, my PhD experience was genuinely the most fulfilling time of my life. I gained great insights from my supervisors who had (and continue to have) a wealth of knowledge in the field, I had many opportunities to travel to international conferences to present my work, and I developed a range of skillsets which helped steer my future career to where I am now.
Fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better supervisory team. The administrative and technical staff were always on-hand to help guide me (no matter how big/small/serious/ridiculous the problem), and the academic contacts I developed across campus were always very supportive and knowledgeable. There are a wide range of training sessions available through the Loughborough Doctoral College which enable students to develop range of skillsets, including networking skills and how to write journal papers. Furthermore, Loughborough University is considered a very prestigious University with very close ties with industry and healthcare sectors, so I have developed some very valuable external contacts. Finally, my PhD experience wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t for the friends I made along the way; some of them were doing PhD’s at the same time, whilst some of them I now work alongside with in the Design School.
It’s difficult to pick out one single memory; there were plenty of good times where I celebrated successes of/with friends and colleagues; whether it be writing a page of a thesis after a month-long mind-block, or the acceptance of a journal paper! Christmas parties were always memorable too!
I always enjoyed the Research aspects of previous projects, and CAD was my strongest skillset during my Undergraduate course. I wanted to carry on designing, but I wanted my design work to have a purpose and to help people who really needed it. I’ve always been interested in medicine, and when I was presented with the opportunity to combine all of these areas in the form of a PhD, I couldn’t refuse!
Given Loughborough’s high-profile reputation in Industrial/Product Design, I felt Loughborough had the best resources and the reputation available to support my research. It is internationally recognised for its research in Additive Manufacture, with staff who had well established research and enterprise portfolios in Design for Additive Manufacture (specifically within the context of medical product design). For all these reasons combined, Loughborough University was the ideal place.
Towards the end of my PhD, I was appointed as a lecturer at The University of Manchester. This was a fantastic opportunity for me, as it expanded my horizons on potential research fields which I had never encountered before; from garment design to Graphene! It also allowed me to build networks in a range of fields, as well as develop my pedagogic practice which is vital for a New Academic.
As of January 2013, I am proud to say I that am now a lecturer in the Design School at Loughborough University, although I continue to visit contacts at Manchester regularly for research meetings.
It has had a profound influence. I use my PhD research in my teaching materials for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students to educate them in a range of modules relating to Computer Aided Design, Modelling and Manufacture. I have also written and continue to write papers and research proposals to expand and further develop work which stems from my PhD research. In addition, my published papers and other social outputs have been read throughout the world and I regularly receive emails from other academics, practitioners and industries enquiring about my PhD and scope for development.
My goal is to see my PhD work and subsequent research outputs implemented in the healthcare sector, with scope to further develop, refine and improve upon it as technologies improve. I would also like to help steer Government initiatives, regulations and Directives to ensure the technology is applied safely effectively in our healthcare systems. Finally, I hope to continue teaching the students cutting-edge skillsets and research relating to CAD and AM so they have the skillsets to fully exploit these exciting technologies in their future careers.
I would highly recommend doing a PhD at the Design School.