PERTH, WA, July 2023
AIRO's Sam Withers Awarded National Industry PhD Program Grant for Laser Bone Shaping Project
AIRO's Senior Mechatronic Engineer, Sam Withers, has been announced as the recipient of the first funding round from the National Industry PhD Program, an initiative by the Australian Federal Government's Department of Education.
The program is designed to encourage collaborations between academia and industry, leveraging the expertise of professionals in diverse fields. Sam was chosen under the Industry Researcher PhD stream, aimed at supporting industry professionals to pursue transformative PhD projects in partnership with universities, with AIRO's backing in this case.
"Sam's mix of technical skills and emotional intelligence make him a standout candidate," remarked AIRO's Managing Director and CEO, Associate Professor Brett Robertson. "As Senior Mechatronic Engineer, Sam's four years at AIRO have brought groundbreaking advances in laser bone shaping, notably enhancing speed and working distance vital for clinical use. His forthcoming PhD will firmly establish his standing as a worldwide authority on this pioneering innovation in orthopaedics".
In collaboration with Associate Professor Nathan Pavlos from the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Western Australia (UWA), Withers will focus on a project titled: 'Clinical Translation of Laser Bone Shaping for Knee Replacements'.
Sam’s project intends to refine and validate laser bone shaping parameters, preparing for the integration of this Australian technology into clinical practice. It presents a patient-focused approach to knee replacements, with a view to improving patient experience and recovery times.
With osteoarthritis affecting two million people in Australia, this research could have significant implications for this patient group. The project offers promise in terms of strengthening collaborations between academia and industry, establishing new partnerships, and contributing to the local knowledge base for the future commercialisation of Australian medical devices. It stands as a shining example of cross-collaboration between academia and industry and showcases a deep commitment from AIRO and UWA to supporting the growth of the WA MPT manufacturing sector by directly assisting to build local capacity and capability.