University of Northampton surgical device project is officially outstanding

Date 20.07.2020

A partnership project between the University of Northampton and surgical equipment company Lightpoint Medical, has been hailed as outstanding by the UK’s innovation agency.

Innovate UK has awarded the University ’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Lightpoint Medical the highest grading possible – outstanding.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership schemes link businesses with a university and a graduate to work on a specific project, which will enable businesses to grow and be innovative. The goal is to transfer expert know-how and skills into the company and provide new challenges and ideas to the University.

Lightpoint, a surgical device company, teamed up with the University to enhance its product design capabilities, ensuring that its technologies were highly responsive to the complex demands of modern cancer surgery.

The company’s first product, SENSEI®, is a laparoscopic probe designed for real-time detection of cancer during minimally-invasive and robot-assisted surgery. The second, LightPath®, provides rapid molecular imaging of surgical tissue specimens in the operating room.

Both products are highly innovative and a step change in imaging and sensing capabilities for cancer surgery – watch an animation about the SENSEI probe, below:

Lightpoint approached the University to benefit from its academic expertise in user-centred design with the aim of ultimately embedding this capability within the company and its design processes.

The two-year partnership saw three University academics from the disciplines of Product Design and Medical Physics share their expertise and knowledge with Lightpoint.

A UON-employed Creative Product Designer and KTP Associate, Francesca Oldfield, also worked full-time on the project, helping develop the technologies as well as conducting design research and usability studies with cancer surgeons.

As a result of the partnership, the SENSEI® probe has been designed closely alongside surgeons with novel easy-to-handle grip features and user-friendly feedback displays.

Key Sector and Knowledge Transfer Manager at the University, Charlotte Patrick, said: “Outstanding is the very highest grade that can be awarded to a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, so we are delighted with the news.

“Our project will now be added to Innovate UK’s shortlist from which KTP case studies will be developed, which is a huge coup for the University.”

KTPs are funded by Innovate UK to enhance knowledge and skills, strengthening competitiveness and our economy.

Read our original story about the UON-Lightpoint Medical KTP on the University website.

To find out how organisations can benefit from KTPs with the University, email

Pictured in the image are, from left, Steve McGonigal, Stewart Forbes from Lightpoint, and UON’s Francesca Oldfield, Tony Denman, Friedemann Schaber.