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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


PhD: Designing a 3D printed bespoke neck collar with embedded sensors for real-time monitoring in people living with Motor Neurone Disease

Division of Surgery & Interventional Science
Specific unit:
Research Department of Surgical Biotechnology
4 years
Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax-free stipend for 4 years, with a slight increase each year at a rate set by the UKRI. This ranges from £17,285 in 2020/21 [year 1] to £18,343 in 2023/24 [year 4].
Contact name:
Dr Deepak Kalaskar
Contact details:

Vacancy Information

The PhD studentship is based in UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, Department of Surgical Biotechnology, and jointly hosted by UCL Clinical and Movement Neurosciences and UCL Mechanical Engineering. The exact stipend will be confirmed at the start of each year. Eligible applications from the UK/EU only.

Studentship Description

As part of the EPSRC-DTP programme, we are seeking to appoint a PhD student to work on an exciting project with long term impact on people living with Motor Neurone Disease (plwMND). MND is a rapidly progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure. MND affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time. The prognosis is extremely poor with many plwMND experiencing profound weakness of the neck muscles at some stage. The resulting head drop has a profound impact on the control of oral secretions and eating in addition to the negative effects on social interactions and can contribute to isolation. Neck collars are commonly used by plwMND to support their head drop and compensate for muscle weakness. Off-the-shelf collars are typically designed for patients with trauma and based on one design-fits-all concept. However, this concept has very limited success even recently because individual anatomy, depending on the degree of disease progression, is extremely variable in plwMND. This innovative project aims to develop collar with embedded sensors for real-time monitoring in plwMND, to increase our understanding of disease progress and develop bespoke collars which facilities their daily activities. Early work in area was published by group recently Scientific Reports (2020). 10, 7028. This project will suits the candidate who is excited about developing innovative solution which can impact lives. Also, who want to work with cutting edge technologies such as 3D printing, scanning and remote sensing involving close communications with the patient groups, biomedical engineers, clinicians and industry.

Person Specification


· At least an upper second-class honours degree (2:1 or equivalent qualification) in bioengineering, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering or a Master’s degree in a related subject area to the project.

Experience working in design and development orthotics and prosthesis.

· Knowledge of additive manufacturing, 3D CAD modeling

· Sensor/instrumentation knowledge/skill would also be important

· student will need to communicate with the patient group so he/she needs an excellent verbal communication skill

· Analytical skills: ability to think independently, interpret data, and knowledge of statistics.

· Good verbal and written skills in plain English for dialogue and scientific language for communication with team members and academic staff, publications in relevant journals and presentations to conferences.


3D printing, 3D scanning and previous experience of working with CAD software will be valuable. Previous experience of publication will be seen positively.


It is open to UK and EU students who have been ordinarily residents for 3 years ( Additional fees may be required for students who do not fulfil UCL’s criteria to be considered a home student.

To make an application, please email your CV and a covering letter to: Dr Deepak Kalaskar ( Your covering letter should explain your interest in the project, previous research experience (including example of previous project work) and why you would be a suitable candidate for this post. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. If you have any queries about the application process, please contact Mr Casper Debieux, at quoting reference no: 1870176.

Further information can be found here.

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