Research Expert Clinical translation of smart surgical instruments and robotic technology

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 27 Sep 2022

(ref. OZK-2022-25)

Laatst aangepast : 13/09/2022

The Robot Assisted Surgery (RAS) and Smart Instrumentation (SI) research groups , part of Groep T at KU Leuven (Science and Technology Group) develop assistive technology and novel instruments to enhance the execution of surgical procedures or enable new treatment options. The research group builds upon advancements in material science, actuation, sensing, algorithms and robotics technology to come up with novel approaches to address today’s clinical needs. The envisioned smart robotic instruments aim to improve the efficiency and/or the safety of existing surgical interventions or try to facilitate novel surgical procedures. The group closely collaborates with an extensive network of clinicians and research groups both inside and outside KU/UZ Leuven to establish a maximal understanding of the clinical need, to understand governing constraints and ensure usability of proposed approaches. The Robot Assisted Surgery (RAS) and Smart Instrumentation (SI) research groups belong to the department of Mechanical Engineering. These are growing, dynamic, multi-disciplinary research groups with links to micro-precision manufacturing, mechanical design, robotics and biomedical applications. The group maintains tight and multiple collaborations with UZ Leuven, the largest (university) hospital in Belgium, which is located at 10 minutes ride (bicycle) of the department. The successful applicant will take the lead in porting promising developments to the hospital and in helping to translate these developments towards industrial uptake.


The aim of this new research expert position is to push integration of hardware and software to higher TRL levels and to design and guide scientific studies at (pre)clinical level with the newly developed functionalities. Expertise with clinical studies and regulatory aspects is important. The following responsibilities are envisioned.  

  • Responsibility 1: expert in development of assistive technology, design of medical devices, design of smart medical devices featuring integrated sensing and displaying intelligent behavior. Supporting RAS PhDs scientifically and aiding publications of the latest results.
  • Responsibility 2: support for validation of PhD projects/research from RAS, liaison with UZ Leuven both: clinicians, sterilization, technical services, support during clinical trials. Joint publications with UZ Leuven to report on the added value or challenges of the use of the newly developed RAS technology.
  • Responsibility 3: expertise in regulation and certification of medical devices, knowledge of new medical device regulations, focus on mechanical design, safety analysis, bio-compatibility, design and support of experiments for clinical validation. Main contact with industry partners to support industry-initiated request for medical device development e.g. by providing access to available in-house expertise and facilities and assisting in setting up of collaborations with UZ Leuven to help validating medical devices.
  • Responsibility 4: daily supervisor/coordinator of RAS’ EU and international projects. Expanding RAS’ network with industry. Interaction with LRD & new IOF e.g. at L-HTC, support of IP generation, setting up of bilateral collaborations. Management of project/IP between different projects. 
  • Responsibility 5: outreach and dissemination. Both focusing on engineering and medical oriented dissemination channels. Push the RAS-brand. Currently, there is a certain discrepancy between the results obtained in the group and the results communicated to the outside world. Extra attention is needed to raise the intensity of our communication (e.g. through our home page) towards the outside world.

The aim of this new research expert position is to push integration of hardware and software to higher TRL levels and to design and guide scientific studies at (pre)clinical level with the newly developed functionalities. Candidates should have demonstrated expertise with supporting clinical studies and should have experience in medical device design, sensor, actuator development and robotic control. Candidates should be able to constructively work with clinicians and non-engineers. Candidates should be able to supervise master and PhD students and should be able to guide them and their developments to higher TRL levels. Candidates should have solid social and communicative skills and should be able to work in team or to lead teams of researchers. We are seeking candidates with demonstrated capability to acquire competitive funding to support research and translation towards the industry. The RAS research group form part of the Robotics, Automation and Mechatronics (RAM) division, whereas the Smart Instrumentation groups is a part of the Biomedical Engineering (BME) division. The successful candidate is expected to establish bridges between RAS, SI and the overarching RAM and BME divisions, to explore and to identify opportunities for collaboration with those groups. 


A permanent position as research expert is offered. The successful candidate will take on a leading role in research and translation of assistive technology and smart instruments developed within the group and will be the group's main contact for this purpose.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Emmanuel Vander Poorten, tel.: +32 16 32 25 28, mail: or Mrs. Regine Vanswijgenhoven, tel.: +32 16 32 25 14, mail:

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