PhD Studentship in Soft Robotics

Updated: 6 months ago
Location: London, ENGLAND
Deadline: 01 May 2017

UCL Department / Division
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Duration of Studentship
Three Years
£16,533 per annum
Vacancy Information

This studentship provides an opportunity for a UK/EU candidate to join a 3-year study program in UCL's Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at UCL has an outstanding international reputation in research on energy and the environment, marine engineering and naval architecture and engineering for medical applications, with strong research collaborations with industry and universities in the UK, North America, Asia and the Far East and has excellent research and teaching facilities.

Studentship Description

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.


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

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 (

Contact name
Helge Wurdemann
Contact details
UCL Taking Action for Equality
Closing Date
1 May 2017
Studentship Start Date
July 2017
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