Honorary degree for School alumnus and bionics pioneer David Gow

(L-R) Eddie Monteith, David Gow and Head of School Conchúr Ó Brádaigh
(L-R) Eddie Monteith, David Gow and Head of School Conchúr Ó Brádaigh

On Wednesday 28 November, staff welcomed alumnus David Gow back to the School of Engineering to celebrate his pioneering career in prosthetics ahead of his honorary graduation.

Honorary graduation

The following day, Thursday 29 November, David was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from the University during a ceremony at the McEwan Hall in recognition of his groundbreaking contribution to the field of upper-limb prosthetics. This includes the invention for which he is known worldwide; the i-limb artificial hand or "bionic hand".

Professor McCann told the audience at the ceremony: “Now in 2018, as we celebrate 150 years since Queen Victoria bestowed the Regius Chair of Engineering on the University of Edinburgh, it is our privilege to proclaim these great achievements of one of our own alumni.”

An inventor with impact

Having graduated from Edinburgh in 1979, David Gow took up a research post at the University and began work in the field of prosthetics.

He subsequently juggled demanding roles in NHS management and prosthetics research while developing the spin-off company Touch EMAS, which later became Touch Bionics, employing over 120 people.

Today he is globally renowned as an inventor devoted to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities.

Royal recognition

David was previously awarded a CBE in 2014, while the i–limb hand was celebrated as one of eight great British inventions of the 20th century, and marked by a set of Royal Mail stamps in 2015.

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