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PhD Studentship in Soft Robotics - UCL Mechanical Engineering - London

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  • PhD Studentship in Soft Robotics - UCL Mechanical Engineering - London

    PhD Studentship in Soft Robotics
    UCL Mechanical Engineering, University College London

    Stiffness and position control for flexible soft robotic manipulators

    (Candidates must be either UK residents, or EU residents who have been living in the UK for 3 years prior to the course commencing)

    Robotics has been shown to have a role in minimally invasive surgery with the potential to improve patient outcomes. Currently, there are a number of surgical robotic platform dominating the market. These systems are multi-arm robotic devices equipped with surgical tools that can be operated remotely via a user input console. However, despite the ‘wristed’ nature of these instruments, the current robotic platforms utilise rigid or ‘straight’ instruments. Thus, there remain difficulties in accessing important parts and the full potential of the robotic platform is not exploited.

    The aim of this project is to develop a new soft, stiffness-controllable robotic manipulator including model-based control methods. The application area is minimally invasive surgery. In particular, highly dexterous procedures create demand for the development of new surgical tools to aid surgeons in their work and subsequently improve patient care.

    The project involves close cross-departmental collaboration between Dr Helge Wurdemann (Lecturer in Medical Devices, UCL Mechanical Engineering), Prof. Mark Miodownik (Professor of Materials & Society, UCL Mechanical Engineering) and Prof. Sarah Spurgeon (Professor of Control Engineering, UCL Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering).

    Person specification
    Applicants should have a strong background (at least a 2.1 honours degree or predicted) in an appropriate engineering discipline (e.g. Mechanical, Biomedical, Electrical). Previous experience in design and development of soft robotics, fabrication techniques, use of CAD software, C/C++ would be an advantage. You must meet UCL English language requirements.

    Financial support
    Full tuition fees and tax free stipend of £16,553 up per annum (for 4 years). The funding will be contingent to satisfactory performance.

    Funding is for UK and EU passport holders only. You must be either be UK residents, or EU residents who have been living in the UK for 3 years prior to the course commencing (for education purposes is fine). EU residents who have not been living in the UK are eligible for fee only awards. Please see

    Application and enquires
    Any queries related to the position should be addressed to Dr Helge Wurdemann ( To apply for this position, please submit your CV (including at least two referees), a covering letter and a transcript of results (listing all subjects taken and their corresponding grades/marks) to Dr Helge Wurdemann ( Closing date: 1 May 2017 (the position may be re-opened if we do not identify a suitable candidate in this first round). The studentship preferred start date is July 2017 or the latest by October 2017.