Steven Abbott

RESEARCH student Steven Abbott has developed a new technology which could save the NHS thousands of pounds and help with diagnoses.Mr Abbott, a post doctoral researcher in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University, has been awarded a place on the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship's (NCGE) prestigious Flying Start Global Entrepreneurs programme to turn his innovative research into a high impact, high technology business.

RESEARCH student Steven Abbott has developed a new technology which could save the NHS thousands of pounds and help with diagnoses.

Mr Abbott, a post doctoral researcher in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University, has been awarded a place on the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship's (NCGE) prestigious Flying Start Global Entrepreneurs programme to turn his innovative research into a high impact, high technology business.

Specialist training in the UK, led by the NCGE and NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) over the past six months, has been helping Steven develop his business idea.

Mr Abbott, of Saffron Walden, who is registered blind, is due to take up a six-month placement with the Kauffman Foundation in the United States, fully funded by the NCGE.


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Meanwhile, Anglia Ruskin has put in place valuable support to enable his innovative research to continue and for the technology to be commercialised.

Alongside 10 other 2009 Flying Start Global Entrepreneurs selected as most promising graduate entrepreneurs in science, technology, engineering and maths from universities in England and Northern Ireland, he will meet some of America's most innovative entrepreneurial thinkers; and visit three of the most celebrated universities in America: Stanford, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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He will work at a leading American company gaining experience to enhance his entrepreneurial knowledge and skills.

Mr Abbott's cutting-edge research in phono arthrometry, was based entirely on his own initiative and ingenuity in overcoming significant problems faced by previous researchers in the field.

His discoveries, and the technology he is developing, focus on the study of sounds generated naturally by human or animal joints in motion. The research has considerable potential as a new, fast, non-invasive and relatively cheap means of obtaining detailed information about the internal state of a joint, which could then be used for diagnostic purposes.

In clinical tests Steven's system was able to successfully establish whether an individual's knee joint was normal or showing signs of abnormality using experimental sound technology. His approach was able to detect a clearly abnormal response from the underside of a patient's kneecap where the MRI scan of the patient had revealed nothing abnormal. The patient was confirmed as having localised damage in this location through keyhole investigation.

The estimated final cost for his equipment would be just a few thousand pounds, while an MRI scanner in comparison costs an average of one million pounds.

He partly attributes his success in this little-known field of research to the very different perspective he has in the interpretation of sound as a disabled person. He was registered blind in 2003.

Dr Lorna Collins, from the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship, said: “I'm particularly impressed by the way Anglia Ruskin has embraced this opportunity to support Steven's research through his research fellowship and the creation of a PhD studentship which, under his direction, will take the research forward when he returns from the United States.

“The University's efforts show just what an important role higher education institutions can play in supporting this nation's economy and nascent research entrepreneurs like Steven as they create new ventures of international significance.”

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