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PhD in the Fabrication of Soft Robots


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Professor Russell Harris
School of Mechanical Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This PhD will investigate novel fabrication technologies and methods, including Aerosol Jet Printing, to create sub-mm diameter magnetically-driven soft continuum-robots, featuring high-resolution controlled multi-material construction (magnetisable materials and elastomeric materials) that can traverse complex channel networks. <br /> <br /> This will be investigated as a route to robotic surgery in the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer is currently the deadliest form of cancer (mortality 95% for less than 2yrs). The University of Leeds, in partnership with clinicians and industry, are investigating new technologies to address some of the challenges for effective surgical treatment. Our vision is to challenge the mind-set of pancreatic cancer being a prognosis of extremely limited options and enable revolutionary treatments that will save lives and allow patients to live without major side-effects.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>Our research will seek to enable future treatments by allowing non-destructive access to the pancreas&#39; intricate sensitive internal anatomy. This will be investigated through the creation of sub-mm magnetically-driven soft continuum-robots featuring high-resolution controlled multi-material construction (magnetisable materials and elastomeric materials) that can traverse and deliver treatments within the pancreas. This will be investigated by a research team of academics, research fellows and PhD researchers spanning technology themes of; manufacturing technology, robotics, and materials processing. This particular PhD position concerns the manufacturing technology research.&nbsp;</p> <p>This post will be conducted within <a href="">The Future Manufacturing Processes Research Group</a> who explore how novel methods of manufacturing can provide new capabilities in products and services across a wide range of applications. The group have a large portfolio of externally funded research projects, in addition to significant flexible funding for long-term strategic research initiatives. The group have recently been recognised, by extensive external peer review, to be World Leading. This research is in collaboration with the STORM lab at Leeds.&nbsp;</p> <p>While working in close collaboration with the wider project team, this role will specialise in the study of the manufacturing process apparatus and instrumentation, with associated experimentation and testing.?&nbsp;This role requires good experimental skills and the ability to create new rigs and machine designs. The manufacturing processes to be investigated will include Aerosol Jet Printing, where our research group at Leeds are developing unique capability.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PHD Mechanical Engineering</strong></em> and in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em><strong>Fabrication of Soft Robots</strong></em> as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Professor Russell Harris</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents at the point you submit your application:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> <li>Funding information including any alternative sources of funding that you are applying for or if you are able to pay your own fees and maintenance</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applications are invited from candidates with a Bachelors and/or Masters degree in a relevant engineering or science degree such as (but not limited to) mechanical engineering, mechatronics, physics, robotics, electrical and electronic engineering, and biomedical engineering. Desirable background experience may include topics of rapid prototyping/3D printing, digital manufacturing processes, robotics, computer aided design, and modelling and simulation are highly desirable. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Doctoral College Admissions prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:12px"><strong>Self-Funded or externally sponsored students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p>UK&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Doctoral Scholarships</a> and <a href="">Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship</a> are available to UK applicants (will reopen from October 2024 for 2025/26 academic entry). <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p>Non-UK &ndash;The&nbsp;<a href="">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China (will reopen from October 2024 for 2025/26 academic entry). The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Important:&nbsp;</strong> Any costs associated with your arrival at the University of Leeds to start your PhD including flights, immigration health surcharge/medical insurance and Visa costs are <strong>not</strong> covered under this studentship.</p> <p>Please refer to the <a href="">UKCISA</a> website for information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about this project, please contact Professor Russell Harris by email: <a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email: <a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>