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PhD Studentship: Combined Effects of Force and Vibration on the Human Hand

University of Southampton - Human Factors Research Unit (HFRU)

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: The funding covers UK fees and stipend at the standard EPSRC rate
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 6th February 2019
Closes: 1st April 2019
Reference: ISVR-HS-535

Vibration of the hand due to poor design or use of power tools can lead to long term damage to health, and has become the most compensated-for industrial disease. We are seeking an enthusiastic PhD student who will join a team studying the combined effects of force and vibration on the human hand. The project is designed to investigate how force influences the physiology responses in the fingers to hand-transmitted vibration. Hand-transmitted vibration reduces finger blood flow (vasoconstriction in fingers) with the extent of the reduction determined by the excitation of one of the mechanoreceptors that gives rise to feeling vibration (the Pacinian channel). Biodynamic research has shown that force affects the apparent mass of the hand and the power absorbed in the hand. Physiological studies have shown that the application of force to a finger or hand reduces finger blood flow and that with greater force there is greater reduction in blood flow. 

This research project will involve laboratory experiments using physiological and psychophysical methods, and will build a biodynamic model of hand-arm system to predict the effect of force and vibration. The outcomes of the research will be presented at national and international conferences and workshops and is expected to impact on the future design of hand tools and regulations to protect workers. 

The successful candidate will work within the Human Factors Research Unit (HFRU) in the ISVR, which has highly motivated, first class research students working in the area of human responses to vibration in world-leading research facilities. See for further details of research activities within the HFRU. 

This studentship is available to candidates with the equivalent of a first class or upper-second class degree in a related discipline (engineering, physics, or physiology), having an interest in physiological phenomena and/or biomedical engineering, statistics, and appropriate mathematical skills. 

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Ying Ye, Human Factors Research Unit, ISVR, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 23 8059 4962.

Funding and Eligibility

This 3 year studentship covers UK tuition fees and provides an annual tax-free stipend at the standard EPSRC rate, which is £14,777 for 2018/19.

Applicants must be UK residents with no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have lived here for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. This residence cannot be mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education.

The funding available is competitive and will only be awarded to an outstanding applicant. As part of the selection process, the strength of the whole application is taken into account, including academic qualifications, personal statement, CV and references. For further guidance on funding, please contact

How to Apply

Click here to apply and select the programme - PhD in Engineering and the Environment. Please enter the title of the PhD Studentship in the application form.

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