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PhD in Mechanical Engineering Project TEAR: Developing Super-Miniature Sensors To Measure Vitreoretinal Traction During Vitrectomy

Newcastle University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £18,622
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 17th January 2024
Closes: 29th February 2024
Reference: ENG126

Award Summary

100% fees covered, and a minimum tax-free annual living allowance of £18,622 (2023/24 UKRI rate). This studentship is open to home and international applicants and will be based in the Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in the new Stephenson Building at Newcastle University. BVI Medical will provide a 3-month placement at their HQ in the US, and travel to international conferences to disseminate findings widely. 

Overview

Do you have what it takes to do a PhD? Do you want to work on the cutting-edge intersection of mechanical engineering, physics and biotechnology? Could you formulate ideas to answer our research question: Is it possible to develop a series of micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS) sensors to measure the instantaneous traction force exerted on the retina during eye surgery? If the answer is yes, we want to hear from you!

Vitrectomy is performed globally in around 1 million people per year to treat blindness. One of the commonest complications of vitrectomy surgery is retinal tear formation, which leads to recurrent retinal detachment requiring repeat surgery and reduced vision in up to 10-15% of cases. Creating sensors to assess traction during vitrectomy is paramount for refining surgical instrumentation. This PhD project aims to fill the gap in this ability by developing super-miniature sensors to elucidate on the interactions between cutter and vitreous, enabling surgeons and researchers to evaluate and fine-tune vitreoretinal cutter designs for optimal performance. 

Number Of Awards

1

Start Date

16th September 2024

Award Duration

4 years

Application Closing Date

29th February 2024

Sponsor

EPSRC and BVI Medical

Supervisors

Dr Richard Whalley, Professor David Steel, Dr Barry Gallacher

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to gain, a first class Honours degree or international equivalent in engineering or physics. Enthusiasm for research, the ability to think and work independently, a strong background in mathematics, excellent analytical skills and strong verbal and written communication skills are essential requirements. 

Home and international applicants (inc. EU) are welcome to apply and if successful will receive a full studentship. Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills. 

International applicants may require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate prior to obtaining their visa and to study on this programme. 

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal 

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.  

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study:  

  • search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code: 8090F  
  • Research Area: select 'Mechanical and Systems Engineering'
  • select PhD Mechanical Engineering’ as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Details’ section:  

  • a ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) - upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form  
  • the studentship code ENG126 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field  
  • when prompted for how you are providing your research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal.  

Contact Details

Dr Richard Whalley (Richard.Whalley@ncl.ac.uk), 

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