Skip to main content
Back Back

Scholarship helps PhD student crack problems with hip implants


A University of Wolverhampton Engineering student has had a vital scholarship extended for a further three years to help with research to crack problems with hip implants.

Local student, Suhaib Zahid, who studied for a Mechanical Engineering degree at the Telford Innovation Campus, was initially awarded the £3,000 a year scholarship by the Hickman Educational Foundation to support him through his undergraduate degree. He graduated with a First Class Honours this year (2020).

Following Suhaib’s decision to continue with his education by studying for a PhD, the Foundation extended the scholarship by a further three years, supporting Suhaib’s research to explore the use of 3D additive manufacturing techniques to develop a metallic structure to help stop hip implant material from cracking.

Clive Hickman, Chief Executive at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and Mechanical Engineering alumnus from Wolverhampton Polytechnic, established the Educational Foundation. He said:  “The Scholarship scheme was set up to support students specifically studying engineering in our region.

“As a graduate of the University myself, I know that it’s crucial that we keep hold of local talent by offering our graduates the support needed to stay in the region, as well as equipping them with the right skills to contribute to the growth of our local economy.

“After seeing the way Suhaib has progressed, and knowing the value of his doctorate research to the expanding Medtech sector, of which there are over 1,000 businesses in the Midlands, we decided to extend his scholarship. This is the first time we’ve supported a PhD student and I’m excited to see his continuing development in the field.

“Opportunities in medical development are a big growth opportunity, where the Midlands has the potential to be world class. It’s this kind of research that could really put us on the map.”

Suhaib said: “My scholarship has really helped build my confidence, especially my placement year at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, which Clive kindly organised. The funding also helped me to focus 100% on my studies and not have to worry about money so much.

“When my grandad had a hip replacement, I became interested in the fact that 20% of hip implants fail because the replacement material had cracked.  With the number of adults needing a hip implant estimated to be 60 million by 2035, and the number of hip replacements reaching 440,000, I thought it would be useful to use the thesis of Auxetics and additive manufacturing to create a metallic 3D structure to stop cracks from forming.”

Suhaib’s research project will aim to study the use of additive manufacturing to develop lattice structures that mimic atomic structures of polycrystalline material to be used for femoral stems. The long-term aim will be to develop multiple meta-crystal lattices whereby, if a crack occurs, it can be slowed down or stopped before the whole structure fails.

Established in 2015, the Hickman Education Foundation seeks to advance the education and training of young people through:

  • Wholly or partly funded apprenticeships
  • Scholarships, maintenance allowances or grants tenable at any British university college or institution of higher or further education
  • Business start-up grants

The foundation has entered into a long-term commitment to provide scholarships at the University of Wolverhampton, Liverpool John Moore’s University and Aston University.

Anyone interested in studying in the School of Engineering should register for one of the University’s Virtual Open Days in 2021.


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

Share this release

Related Stories