Prof Laurence Kenney

School of Health & Society

Photo of Prof Laurence Kenney

Current positions



Laurence Kenney graduated from the University of Salford in Mechanical Engineering in 1986 and subsequently studied for his PhD in engineering design. Since 1998 he has worked in the area of rehabilitation engineering, both in the UK and Netherlands, in close collaboration with Professor David Howard. Together with Professors David Howard and Malcolm Granat he co-leads the Rehabilitation Technologies and Biomedical Engineering research group. The group focuses on the design and development of new rehabilitation technologies aimed at assisting functional movement, together with novel methods for their evaluation. Application areas include prosthetics, functional electrical stimulation devices and walking aids.

Laurence has been awarded grants from EPSRC, NIHR, EU, Innovate UK, charities and other organisations, and published ~ 80 journal papers. He is the Academic Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Prosthetics and Orthotics and a co-investigator on the EPSRC TIDAL Network. Between 2008 and 2011 he was an Associate Editor for Prosthetics and Orthotics International. Laurence co-chaired the 2019 Trent International Prosthetics Symposium. He is a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College and past Chair of the Inspire Foundation National Scientific Committee. Laurence has supervised 16 PhD students (8 as lead supervisor), been involved in research contributing to the development of two new rehabilitation devices, and a spin-out company, Bet R Medical. His work has also contributed to patented designs.

One of the main focus areas for his current research is upper limb prosthetics. He supervised the PhD of Alix Chadwell, whose award-winning work focused on the factors contributing to both performance and real-world use of myoelectric prosthesis users. The work has been highly cited and was one of the first studies to report objective data on the real-world use of upper limb prostheses, a technique now rapidly growing in popularity. The work fed into an ongoing NIHR Invention for Innovation-funded project, addressing one the issues identified in Alix’s work. Since 2018, he has been working in collaboration with Professor Louise Ackers, partners in Uganda and elsewhere on a series of projects focusing on purely mechanical upper limb prosthetics. Highlights include one of the first studies exploring the lived experiences of people with upper limb absence, the establishment of a new rehabilitation centre in Fort Portal and the co-design of novel upper limb prostheses which may be locally manufactured. The upper limb prosthetics research has also provided opportunities to engage members of the public with the research, including a week-long Manchester Science Festival 2022 event, attended by over 20,000 people.

Areas of Research

Rehabilitation technologies design,
Real world evaluation methods
Design for low resource settings

Qualifications and Recognitions

  • Design of a flight simulator for special educational needs

    1986 - 1993
  • Mechanical Engineering

    1983 - 1986