Safe Orthopaedics

touchless surgery

The Organisation

Safe Orthopaedics, based in Paris, France, specialise in spinal stabilisation technologies, with the aim of simplifying the business model employed by spinal surgery instrument designers.

The Challenge

The company had designed a new disposable instrument kit for use in spinal surgeries that will compete with the traditional steel apparatus currently in use. The new disposable kit has many practical and clinical advantages, however, the company were interested in assessing its environmental impact in terms of waste and pollutants. 

Skills Sought

  • Ability to summarise and analyse data
  • Report writing
  • Ability to work independently

The Solution

Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC), student Alex Briggs, carried out his undergraduate dissertation with French company ‘Safe Orthopaedics’ in the summer of 2012.  Business development managers from LEC and Paris Region Enterprises introduced Alex to Safe Orthopaedics and helped in the development of the student project. The business development managers supported Alex whilst he carried out his dissertation and this contributed to a core part of his undergraduate degree.  

Alex conducted extensive research for both the new product Safe Orthopaedics had developed and that of the existing steel products on offer. 


This transnational student placement was supported through KARIM.  KARIM, the Knowledge Acceleration and Responsible Innovation Meta-network, is a project funded by the European Union. The aim of this project was to build a network for SME’s, University partners and other 'innovation actors' across NW Europe and by so doing to help boost the competitiveness of innovative SME’s in this region.


Alex concluded that the new product appeared to have less damaging pollutant and waste streams compared to the traditional steel alternatives. He also highlighted a number of areas for future research into examining the potential toxicity of both products during disposal. 


To the Company

  • Analysis of the life-cycle of the new product
  • Report showing the environmental benefits of the new product
  • Highlighted areas of future research

To the Student

  • Gained an insight into a commercial business
  • Networking with stakeholders
  • Development of skills in a business environment
  • A report which formed the basis of their undergraduate degree dissertation