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01 March 2023

€150,000 awarded to test proof of concept for micro-precise neurosurgery robot

A grant of €150,000 from the European Research Council has been awarded to help researchers develop the practical applications and commercialisation of the VITRRO multi-arm neurosurgery robot.

Graphic of the brain

Precision in neurosurgery is vital to fully exercise brain tumours and ensure negative tumour margins, however existing surgery techniques (both manual and robotic) have limited target reach.

The Versatile Intracranial Tumour Resection Robot (VITTRO) is a highly dextrous, flexible and small diameter robotic tentacle for precise, minimally invasive removal, of intracranial tumours and other confined space surgeries.

The Proof of Concept funding will explore VITTRO’s potential to advance the surgical robotics industry as a surgical tool enhancing the capabilities of neurosurgeons, and offering better prospects for brain tumour patients, before expanding to towards other surgical applications.

I am grateful to ERC for their continuous support in my research project. This Proof of Concept funding will allow me to explore the business strategy and commercialisation approaches for our surgical robots, while strengthening our ability to carry out clinically relevant research through updated robot prototypes. Neurosurgery is an exciting and generally untapped domain for robotics, and I am glad to be given the opportunity to explore it from both the research and the commercial standpoints.

Dr Christos Bergeles, Associate Professor (UK Reader)

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: The ERC Proof of Concept Grants aim to enable innovations, stemming from EU investments in frontier research, reach society and the market faster. We are supporting big ideas turn into true innovation and building a system whereby innovation develops into valuable products and services for citizens".

The Proof of Concept grants scheme is open only to researchers who are or have previously been awarded ERC frontier research grants. These top-up grants help to explore the commercial or societal potential of the findings researchers made through their ERC projects. The objective is to enable ERC-funded ideas to progress on the path from ground-breaking research towards innovation.

The funding is part of the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe.

In this story

Christos  Bergeles

Professor of Surgical Robotics