PhD Lower-limb prostheses: optimal human-in-the-loop co-adaptation (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 23 days ago
Deadline: 26 Jul 2022

Organisation

Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen enjoys an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Flexible study programmes and academic career opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 36,000 students and researchers alike to develop their own individual alents. As one of the best research universities in Europe, the University of Groningen has joined forces with other top universities and networks worldwide to become a truly global centre of knowledge.

The PhD research will be conducted in both

  • the Robotics Lab (Prof. Raffaella Carloni), which focuses on the mechatronic development of innovative lower-limb prosthesis and intelligent/adaptive control architectures
  • the Departement of Human Movement Science – Section Rehabilitation (Prof. Han Houdijk), which focuses on the study of human movement performance and underlying mechanism integrating theories from biomechanics, muscle physiology and motor control. Specific attention lies on restoration of walking ability and assistive technology using advanced gait analysis techniques.

City of Groningen:

https://groningen.nl/en/discover-groningen/city
Job description

This 4 years PhD position is a joint appointment between the research group of Prof. Raffaella Carloni (Robotics Lab, Dept. Artificial Intelligence, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen) and the research group of Prof. Han Houdijk (Department Human Movement Sciences - Section Rehabilitation, University Medical Center Groningen).

The PhD position is funded by HTRIC (Health Technology Research and Innovation Cluster) and it is framed within the research project CoAdapt. Given the great challenge of providing people with lower limb amputation with an artificial limb that can mimic the behavior of its biological counterpart, the CoAdapt project aims at developing a human-in-the-loop approach in which the user and the (control settings and mechanical parameters of the) prosthesis co-adapt to each other in an optimization process.

The successful applicant will work on a multidisciplinary project aimed at developing novel control architectures towards the optimal co-adaptation between people with transfemoral amputations and their prostheses.
Particularly, the successful applicant will:

• define gait performance metrics and gait analysis procedures
• design and implement (optimal) control architectures for a transfemoral prosthesis that account for the human-in-the-loop
• prepare clinical evaluation protocols
• perform pre-clinical and clinical tests in close collaboration with people with transfemoral amputation.

The PhD candidate will receive excellent training through cutting-edge research projects, advanced courses and training opportunities, complemented by workshops on generic research, transferable skills, and teaching. The PhD candidate should be committed to conduct independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and presentations, and to present the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within 4 years. The PhD candidate is expected to contribute 10% of their overall workload to teaching.


Qualifications

As this project involves translational research in both engineering and human movement science, the ideal candidate has a strong multidisciplinary interest. Specifically, the PhD candidate must be able to acquire a solid knowledge of the mechatronic background and control techniques, gain an understanding of biomechanics and the movement of people with transfemoral amputation, and have excellent communication skills to discuss and coordinate with engineers and clinicians.

Required:

• MSc degree in the field of engineering (mechanical, mechatronics, biomedical, biomechatronics, systems and control, or related disciplines)
• excellent programming skills (Embedded C, Python, ROS)
• excellent command of the English language with strong communication skills
• ability to work efficiently, independently as well as in a team.

Preferred:

• preparation of clinical evaluation protocols for clinical trials.


Conditions of employment

We offer you, following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,443 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,122 gross per month in the fourth and final year for a full-time working week
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE). The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The conditions of employment: https://www.rug.nl/about-us/work-with-us/

The preferred starting date is 1 December 2022.


Information

For information you can contact:

Prof. Raffaella Carloni,   r.carloni@rug.nl

Prof. Han Houdijk,   h.houdijk@umcg.nl

(please do not use the email addresses above for applications)


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