Published on 25/11/2022
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  • Highly successful KTP leads to the creation of an automated cleaning system that allows endoscopes to be cleaned direct from the clinic 
  • Prototype produced cleaning levels 1,000 times greater than anticipated
  • Aston University are to publish three full publications for submission to high-ranking (4*/3*) top-quartile journals

Aston University and Partnership Medical (PML) have completed a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), resulting in the development of a revolutionary automated system for the high-level cleaning of endoscopes.

A KTP is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a highly qualified researcher, known as a KTP associate.  

The project achieved industry-leading levels of cleaning, therefore reducing risks of microbial contamination to patients and lowering rates of morbidity and mortality.

Endoscopes are long, thin tubes with a light and camera at one end. Due to the sensitivity of the materials and electronics they cannot be sterilised in an autoclave (a machine that uses steam under pressure), opening up high potential for microbial cross infection. The automated prototype and new cleaning materials developed resulted in a simple five-minute treatment offering deep cleaning levels 1,000 times greater than anticipated, providing hygiene and microbial reduction levels far superior to those currently possible using conventional manual procedures. 

Partnership Medical Ltd (PML), based in Stoke-on-Trent, are specialists in supplying cleaning equipment and consumables for flexible endoscopes, with over 20 years of distributor experience. The company aims to become a leading manufacturer/provider for endoscopic departments in clinics and hospitals worldwide.

The academic team of the KTP included Dr Andy Sutherland, a reader in organic/polymer chemistry and a member of Aston Institute of Materials Research with expertise in mesocrystal formation and working with nanoparticles. Dr Sutherland worked alongside Dr Tony Worthington, a clinical microbiologist and associate professor in biosciences within the College of Health and Life Sciences. .Dr Thien Duong took part as the KTP associate, bringing expertise in synthetic chemistry. 

Justin Briggs, director of Partnership Medical, said: “The impact of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership on Partnership Medical Limited and its staff has been remarkably significant. 
“The project has completely facilitated the company’s future vision to become a world-leading supplier for endoscope accessories and consumables and paved the way for the formation of a research and development department in the future.”

Dr Andy Sutherland, reader in organic/polymer chemistry at Aston University, said: “If the endoscope cleaning system we have developed successfully passes its clinical trials, it will lead to far cleaner endoscopes being used in hospitals and hopefully prevent people from dying.

Accordingly, in terms of impact, we feel our KTP project has the potential to be highly significant.”

Notes to editors

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a UK-wide programme that helps businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills. Aston University is a leading KTP provider, ranked third in terms of volume by Innovate UK, the National body. 

This project is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Watch our short film to see how it works and visit our website for examples of KTP in action at Aston.

To find out more about how your business can benefit from working with Aston University, please email: or call 0121 204 4242

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

In 2022 Aston University was ranked in the top 25 of the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7557 745416 or email:

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7557 745416 or email:

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