Salford researchers to support adoption of CAD technologies in footwear manufacturing

A University of Salford team headed by Dr Anita Williams, Senior Lecturer at the School of Health Sciences, is moving into its second year of delivering sector-leading education content for industries in the UK and European Union (EU), as part of an EU Leonardo da-Vinci funded project - INGA3D.

Team from University of Salford’s School of Health Sciences is working on a project to support greater adoption of Computer-Aided Design CAD technologies in footwear manufacture

The project aims to support greater adoption of Computer-Aided Design CAD technologies to underpin innovation in the footwear manufacturing activities in Spain, Portugal, Romania, the UK and other EU countries.

Working with a range of existing UK footwear partners, some of whom produce specialist footwear for people with major foot pathology, Dr Williams has identified gaps in the provision of footwear training in industry but also in higher education settings.

Dr Williams said:

In order to achieve good outcomes for people who wear this specialist footwear there has to be a marriage between technological advancements in how these shoes are designed and manufactured. Along with improvements in service organisation and consultation with patients we are aiming to see improvements in foot health for those with conditions such as diabetes.

Anita is currently in charge of development of the Orthopaedic Footwear module which offers a blended learning model and direct access to some of the most advanced footwear designs tools available. The School is also benefitting by gaining 15 free CAD licenses for students to use.

Professor Chris Nester helped bring the project consortia together via the long standing link to Instituto Español del Calzado y Conexas (INESCOP), a service organisation for the footwear and related industries, in Spain.

He said:

I hope this is the forerunner of a comparable project to develop online, multimedia content for orthotic insole training across several schools of podiatry, orthotics and physical therapy across the EU.

Dr Williams and Professor Nester and colleagues are also partners in two further EU projects concerned with foot health interventions and footwear innovations - SoHealthy and SMARTPIF.

The INGA3D project builds on the back of Dr Williams’ successful track record of research and publishing in this area both in peer-reviewed journals and books. She has also developed and leads the postgraduate footwear training course that has seen more than 90 podiatrists in the UK and southern Ireland extend their scope of practice. The aim of the course is to enhance the provision of foot care the podiatrists deliver alongside their orthotist colleagues. The course has now run for seven years and remains the only course to have received approval from the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists and the British Association of Prosthetics and Orthotists.

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