Strathclyde University enters partnership with world-leading sensor company


A world-leading sensor design and manufacturing company has announced a major investment in a research partnership with the University of Strathclyde.

Pressure Profile Systems, Inc (PPS), which develops tactile sensors to capture pressure distribution as research tools, will be making the investment, worth in the region of £300,000, over five years to support the partnership and to advance academic research at the University of Strathclyde.

During the first 12-month phase of the partnership, three co-funded PhD/EngD students will be recruited to work on sensor-based projects, jointly with PPS and Strathclyde research. The second phase will expand the partnership into other research fields, including biomedical engineering, design manufacture & engineering management and materials research.

Dr Jae Son, Founder and CEO of PPS, said: “We are thrilled about our new relationship with the University of Strathclyde. We envision this as the first step in a much stronger partnership, where we plan to establish a talented team of researchers to investigate technology transfer opportunities from our joint research and enable the commercialisation of new cutting-edge PPS tactile sensing-based products that will make a positive impact on the world.”

The partnership will be managed by the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering (CUE), which is part of the Institute for Sensors, Signals and Communications in the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

The Centre’s Director, Professor Anthony Gachagan, said: “Our collaboration with PPS empowers the University of Strathclyde to offer some of its brightest researchers exposure to cutting-edge innovation, knowledge exchange and internationalisation opportunities, while PPS takes advantage of collaborating with a high-calibre, industrially-focused research university.”

Dr Gordon Dobie, Partnership Leader at the University of Strathclyde and an expert in robotic and embedded systems, said: “The Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering has more than 20 years of experience of novel sensor design and I look forward to applying CUE’s resources and expertise to the development of the next generation of tactile sensor solutions.”

The research will be carried out at the University’s £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC). Centre Director Steve Graham said: “Working on research projects with high technology and innovative international companies such as PPS in our new high-specification laboratories and collaborative working environment is exciting academically, but also an excellent opportunity for engaging with the company.”

PPS and the University of Strathclyde intend to commercialise the research from the partnership into new products through UKRC, Innovate UK and EU and Scottish government grant schemes.

PPS has, in the past decade, founded two medical device companies – Sierra Scientific Instruments and Medical Tactile – in which its sensor technology has formed the backbone of the companies’ products. Both companies received millions of dollars in government grants and private investment and SSI was recently acquired by NASDAQ-listed Given Imaging Ltd for $35 million.