Fully Funded PhD Studentship Development of musculoskeletal materials for “smart prosthetics”



Restoration of human functional activity has been a drive for many centuries dating back to early Egyptian and Greek civilizations. These interventions would often take the form of a prosthesis made from various materials-depending upon the body part. Technology has progressed to using newer materials enabling lighter devices and more realistic appearances. Current state of the art research is looking at the integration of robotics, electrical components, temperature, pressure sensors etc. The question is what is the next iteration? In parallel with the developments detailed above, the field of tissue engineering has progressed significantly with various relevant tissues now able to be “fabricated” in vitro. This vacancy is one of a group of 4 PhD researchers that will be working together to integrate the latest prosthetic and bioengineering developments to develop “smart prostheses”. The areas of study will include Biological and Chemical Interfaces, Loading and Performance, Materials, Manufacturing, Design and Integration. The supervisory group is composed of academics from across the whole of Loughborough University.

This PhD will investigate the development of new materials systems that are compatible with additive manufacturing methods and provide the mechanical properties tailored for applications in smart prostheses. Their important function is to serve as the mechanical interface between the user’s body (both existing biology and any bioengineered material that might be transplanted) and the mechanical parts of the prosthesis. As a result, they must be comfortable, biocompatible, lightweight and ideally be visually and tactilely lifelike. This work will involve the development and characterisation of new polymeric and elastomeric materials as well as composites suitable for such applications.

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This PhD is part of a larger multidisciplinary “smart prosthetics” project being pursued by academics from several Schools under the University strategic theme of Health & Wellbeing. This studentship will primarily appeal to students interested in materials and mechanical engineering. Extensive training will be provided as part of this work and enquiries from students with other backgrounds are welcomed. 

The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £13,726 per annum for a period of three years plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is open to UK and EU applicants only.  Non UK applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements, details available here: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/international/englang/index.htm 

Informal enquiries about the project should be made to: Dr Simon Martin: [email protected] or +44(0)1509 228521 or Professor Vadim Silberschmidt: [email protected] or +44 (0)1509 227504.

Applications are now invited from students who want to embark on a full-time research degree programme commencing in Autumn Term 2013.

For full details please visit the Apply button below.

The deadline for applications is 5th July 2013

However, early application is strongly encouraged as a 1st October 2013 start is preferred.

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