Starworks – young peoples’ prosthetic research collaboration, bringing together children and their families with key opinion leaders from the NHS, Industry, Clinical Academia, and leading National Research Centres

Initiative centred on the needs of children, their families and the NHS to harness ‘clinical pull’ and ‘technical push’

Project Partners

NIHR Devices for Dignity HRC

Lab4Living at Sheffield Hallam University

Limb Power



Health and Care Requirement

Compared with adult services, there is a paucity of innovations for children with limb loss.

The Programme’s Concept

Starworks is a young people’s prosthetic research collaboration which brings children and their families together with key opinion leaders from the NHS, Industry, Clinical Academia and leading National Research Centres with capabilities in child prosthetics.

In 2016 the Department of Health and Social Care committed £1.5 million to child prosthetics. Half of this funding was dedicated to the provision of activity limbs through the NHS, whilst the other half aimed to invest in new innovations to help children with limb loss reach their full potential. D4D were given the role of leading the NIHR Child Prosthetics Research Collaboration, known as The Starworks Network. The aim was to increase research focus across the system in order to accelerate the translation of new inventions and developments in child prosthetic into everyday use, centred around the needs of children, families and the NHS.

D4D are providing:

  • D4D lead and manage this programme of activity
  • Regulatory expertise
  • Building strong relationships with users
  • Network development
  • Management of phased Proof of Concept funding competitions

Next stage of development:

Starworks has been active for four years and during this time we have funded 10 initial proof of concept projects and provided further funding for six of these to develop their concepts further.

Alongside this we are also working alongside academics, clinical staff and children and young people to look at a range of issues in this space. Further information can be found on the dedicated Starworks website, here.


This project is in receipt of £750,000 from the NIHR for the first term of the Starworks programme, with £420,000 for the second term.