Materials technology company, Lucideon, along with nine European consortium partners, has been awarded a €3.9 million (£2.8 million) grant for the development of antimicrobial polymers for medical use.
The funding, provided by the European Commission, will be used to train industry PhD researchers in developing drug-free antibacterial materials used for medical applications, such as wound care and implants.
Biomedical polymers have been widely used in combination with drugs in medical settings but a challenge has arisen to develop new materials that have an intrinsic antibacterial functionality. To meet this need, a new generation of professionals will be trained under the project ‘Drug-Free Antibacterial Hybrid Biopolymers for Medical Applications (HyMedPoly)’ which Lucideon is co-ordinating.
HyMedPoly will engage 15 young PhD researchers to create and implement new strategies to combat bacteria. Seven of these researchers will be jointly supervised by Lucideon together with two universities, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and University of Southampton, the research institute, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and industry partner, Vornia Ltd.
HyMedPoly will offer a joint training programme at world class academic and industrial institutes, combining technical knowledge with hands-on training in state-of-the-art research projects related to key issues that determine the future therapies of antibacterial materials.
Dr Xiang Zhang, Royal Society Industry Fellow, Head of Medical Materials and Devices at Lucideon and co-ordinator of the HyMedPoly project said: “The ultimate goal will be the development of highly-skilled professionals that will play a pivotal role in the production of advanced medical products for hospitals and personal health care, with the potential to enhance the UK and EU economy as well as contributing to the improvement of quality of life for all.”