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PhD position funded in Soft Robotics in Healthcare at the University of Aberdeen, UK

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  • PhD position funded in Soft Robotics in Healthcare at the University of Aberdeen, UK

    Applications are invited for one fully funded doctoral position in soft robotics wearable technologies in healthcare at the School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen.

    The successful candidate will undertake research focusing on designing, fabricating and controlling a compliant, non-invasive and novel wearable device for diagnosis and treatment of illness. Specifically, this doctoral project is aimed at the development of a variable compliance, lightweight brace with bioinspired tactile sensing which can adapt to the user’s body for comfort, usability and effectiveness.

    Applications for these devices are as diverse as: (i) early detection of illness, (ii) facilitating upper limb rehabilitation of neuromuscular conditions, and (iii) supporting strength augmentation of elderly or disabled people to increase their independence.

    Recent developments in the fields of wearable sensors and bioinspired soft actuators show their potential in healthcare monitoring and treatment. Current technologies do not take full advantage of the potential of these developments to arrive at scientifically, societally and technically relevant results. The integration of smart actuators, variable compliance, and applied control in wearable and bioinspired technologies that use multiple sensory modalities could harness this potential and empower the users without impairing their mobility.

    With the steep increase in use in recent years, wearable technologies are increasingly being recognised as having the ability to improve patient treatment outcomes, diagnostic accuracy and possibly reduce healthcare staff workload. These technologies have great potential in assisting with effective patient rehabilitation and reducing hospital visits. The growing global need for novel healthcare solutions shows the timeliness, relevance and potential impact of this research project. Medical robotics and soft robotics research are increasingly being recognised by research councils (UKRI) and the UK Government (through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and Innovate UK) as a growing area for investment.

    This doctoral position will provide extensive opportunities to gain a multidisciplinary outlook through interactions with a wide network of academic and research partners at the School of Engineering, with research expertise ranging from bioengineering to control theory and machine learning. In addition the University of Aberdeen has one of the largest medical campuses in Europe.

    The candidate will acquire skills/experience in the following areas: (i) exploiting bioinspiration and embodied intelligence to engineer novel and effective systems for real-world applications, (ii) designing innovative variable compliance mechanisms and robotic platforms and, (iii) developing high performance software algorithms for wearable robots.

    Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit. The successful candidate should have, or expect to obtain, a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Robotics, Computer Science, Electrical, Electronics or Mechanical Engineering, and related fields preferably with experience in robotic technologies are encouraged to apply, a Master’s degree is preferable. Proficiency is required in at least one common programming language (C/C++, C#, Java, Python) and aptitude for working with robotic hardware. Excellent writing skills and a self-reliant well-organized style of working are essential.

    This is a full-time position, starting in October 2020, for a period of three years.


    If you are interested in the position please contact Dr Maria Elena Giannaccini at

    Applications should include:

    1. Degree certificates and grade transcripts (in original language and officially translated into English)
    2. A motivation letter / research statement
    3. Two academic reference letters
    4. Links to publications, if any
    5. Detailed CV

    Formal applications can be completed online:

    Once in the University of Aberdeen postgraduate admission portal,
    • Select ‘Apply’ for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
    • State the name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
    • State ‘Leverhulme’ as the Intended Source of Funding
    • State the exact project title on the application form

    Funding Notes
    The award is primarily available to UK/EU students and will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant. We are willing to accept applications from international applicants providing they are prepared to pay the difference between the UK/Home Tuition Fees.