The Central University of Technology (CUT) was recently awarded a Research Chair in Medical Product Development grant through an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology which will boost the university’s research and practice of 3D printing for medical purposes.
The chair was awarded to CUT’s Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing through the department’s South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI), a governmental human capital development program aimed at strengthening and improving scientific research and innovation capacity among local public universities and producing highly skilled students in various scientific fields.
The Bloemfontein-based university was awarded the chair for their revolutionary work in the modern medical field. Over R471 million from the department’s annual budget was allocated to the SARChI for this year.
CUT has conducted medical procedures involving 3D printing on 12 patients to date, two of which had 3D printed titanium jaw implants inserted at the Kimberley Hospital last year.
“3D printing makes designs possible that conventional methods cannot achieve, so we are definitely going to look into medical equipment development under this research objective, with an emphasis on disabled patient assistive devices,” said CUT’s Professor Ihar Yadroitsau.
“The CUT Research Chair in Medical Product Development will have a positive impact on research as a whole,” added minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor. “More research projects will run concurrently to help strengthen knowledge and technological know-how in complementary research infrastructure.”