Dr Peter Culmer leads team awarded EPSRC grant for diabetes research

As part of the Year of Engineering, EPSRC has awarded a multidisciplinary team led by Dr Peter Culmer £253,000 for a project on developing in-shoe sensors to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers.

Dr Culmer’s project features in the 28 pioneering new research projects for which EPSRC announced support. Alongside UK research Councils and Innovate UK, EPSRC is supporting the year-long Government campaign, which celebrates engineering in the UK and will inspire a new generation considering engineering careers.

The project

The project, 'In-shoe sensory systems to assess and avoid diabetic foot disease' brings together a highly multidisciplinary team; Dr Culmer and Dr Ali Alazmani will bring engineering expertise in novel sensor systems for healthcare, working closely with Mr David Russell, Consultant Vascular Surgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospitals and colleagues Dr Heidi Siddle and Dr Graham Chapman of the Leeds NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

The team are excited about the potential to tackle this long-standing clinical challenge. Diabetes affects over 4.5m of the UK population and studies estimate that over 2.5% of those with diabetes will have a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU), a hugely debilitating condition which has a significant impact on personal quality of life and costs the NHS up to 1.13billion each year. Unfortunately, modern assessment methods are limited, meaning it is difficult for clinicians to accurately assess the condition for prevention or treatment.

The novel idea at the heart of this project is to develop novel pressure-sensing technology that will be used to develop ‘next-generation’ in-shoe assessment system for DFU with the ability to measure pressures on the foot and detect abnormal regions at risk of developing ulcers. This has the potential to guide diagnosis and treatment at lower cost and longer-term produce personalised systems for monitoring ‘at-risk’ patients.

Soft sensors developed in the Surgical Technologies research group

Soft sensors developed in the Surgical Technologies research group allow precise measurements at low-cost for applications in healthcare

EPSRC’s Engineering for a Prosperous Nation

EPSRC’s Engineering for a Prosperous Nation call results in a £6.6m investment, which will support projects with transformative impact in fields from autonomous vehicles to energy storage and healthcare technology.

EPSRC’s Chief Executive, Professor Philip Nelson, said: “The Year of Engineering is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the UK’s proud heritage in this field and highlight the impact that engineering has on the UK and the world. Through this, we hope to inspire a future generation to continue and improve on that legacy in the future.”

The Year of Engineering is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the UK’s proud heritage in this field and highlight the impact that engineering has on the UK and the world.

“EPSRC continues to invest in this vision by supporting the engineers of tomorrow, and the projects announced are a testament to our firm belief that novel, transformative research will help to make the UK a more prosperous nation.

Twenty-eight projects at 17 different universities have been supported, with grants awarded to researchers across all career stages and representing a diverse range of fields.

Dr Peter Culmer

Dr Culmer’s research interests lie in the application of engineering science to advance healthcare. The core of his work is developing and applying new 'enabling technologies' like sensor systems to medical applications.

Dr Peter Culmer is Associate Professor at the University of Leeds where he leads the multidisciplinary Surgical Technologies research group. Dr Culmer works closely with healthcare professionals and industry partners and has secured over £5M funding from sources including EPSRC, MRC, NIHR and the Leverhulme Trust.

His research achieves impact clinically and he plays an active part in the medical research community as a board member of the NIHR HTC in Colorectal Therapies and iMechE’s Biomedical Engineering Association. As academic lead of the EPSRC IMPRESS Network he is passionate about understanding and developing technology to help people with incontinence

About the Year of Engineering

The Year of Engineering is a government campaign, which celebrates the world and wonder of engineering. For further information visit the Year of Engineering website

About the EPSRC

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation.

The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture. We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Further information

Discover more about the Government’s Year of Engineering programme, and EPSRC.

Learn more about the research interests of Dr Peter Culmer, and the Surgical Technologies Research Group.

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Landmark campaign to inspire next generation of engineers

In-shoe sensor aims to prevent diabetic foot ulcers