Centre for Doctoral Training in Prosthetics and Orthotics
About the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Prosthetics and Orthotics
The UK’s leading academic centres of Prosthetics and Orthotics excellence, (University of Salford, Imperial College London, the University of Southampton, and the University of Strathclyde), globally renowned for their expertise in this sector have been funded for 8 years from the prestigious UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to produce the next generation of highly skilled researchers who can help deliver technology and service innovations.
The current 32 PhD students have a wide range of academic backgrounds and come from a diverse range of countries including Cambodia, Nigeria and Tanzania. These students are immersed in authentic real-world academic, industry and clinical experiences, working directly with service users and future employers right from the outset. Our training enables students to work across the continuum of skills required in the sector, understanding how high-quality and interdisciplinary science and engineering research can improve the everyday lives of people across the globe. This presents a tremendous opportunity for key industrial partners to be involved and drive mentorship into real-life issues and future products, and help create our future innovators and leaders.
Did you know?
- 80-90% of prosthetic and orthotic users do not have access to appropriate services and devices (World Health Organisation 2018).
There is a wide range of health problems that require prosthetic and orthotic devices and services:
- Globally, 1.2 million people each year experience a major amputation due to trauma, the vast majority are of working age, with average age in some areas being 35 years of age.
- In the UK a record high of 25,527 diabetes-related major/minor amputations occurred between 2013-2016 (Diabetes UK 2017), and many of these will require a prosthetic limb.
- There are 1.2 million stroke survivors, the UK's leading cause of disability and many use orthoses to support walking and use of hands (Stroke Association 2017).
- There will be 6.5 million people in the UK with knee arthritis by 2020 and 2.6 million of these will be of working-age . Many could benefit from specialist orthoses (Arthritis Research UK, 2014)
- Some 400,000 people in the UK have rheumatoid arthritis and rely upon orthoses to protect there upper and lower limb joints
- 30,000 children have cerebral palsy and use orthoses to help them walk (Arthritis Research UK, 2014).
The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Prosthetics and Orthotics aims to address these important health care needs, producing a new generation of highly skilled researchers who can help deliver technology and service innovations needed to meet the aspirations of users, and the industry and third sector agencies supporting them.
Students study over 4 years at one of either the University of Salford, Imperial College London, University of Strathclyde or the University of Southampton. Students are immersed in authentic real-world academic, industry and clinical experiences, working directly with users and future employers from the outset.
Staff, students and partners will be excepted to commit to our EDI mission: to create an inspirational, inclusive learning, research and working environment, celebrating the diversity of our community in our everyday conversation.
Learn more about our current students and their projects.
Watch this video to hear what our current students have to say about their CDT journey:
As a society, we strive to address current challenges within the wider healthcare technology sector and produce innovative solutions needed to meet aspirations od prosthetic and orthotic users.
In the first year, students will undertake a training course which includes a series of taught modules and a short project. For the first six months all students will based at Salford after which they will move to their host institution to complete PhD programme of research. This will be either the University of Salford, Imperial College London, University of Strathclyde or the University of Southampton. Throughout the four-year programme cohort-based activities will ensure students work across the institutions.
Our 4-year PhD studentships provide an exciting platform for personalised research training pathways. Students start on October 1st each year (note: applications close in February each year, see below for date).
All students are initially based at the University of Salford and then move to their host institution in the middle year 1.
Students can select from a series of taught modules which cover: medical device certification, fundamentals of prosthetics and orthotics, research methodology, biomechanics, gait analysis and physical behaviour monitoring technologies, health behaviour, professional issues relating to prosthetics and orthotics.
Further learning opportunities relate to responsible innovation; good clinical practice in research; equality, diversity and inclusion, change management and knowledge exchange.
Students also complete a short research project on a topic that will form the basis of their PhD work, developed and implemented in partnership with clinical and/or industry partners. Students will also agree a supervision team and clinical and/or industry and user partners required to support their PhD project.
There will be formal assessments in year 1 that are a prerequisite for continuing into years 2, 3 and 4.
Year 2, 3 & 4
Students will complete their PhD studies following the guidelines of their host institution (either the University of Salford, Imperial College London, University of Strathclyde or the University of Southampton). Upon satisfactory progress over the three years, students will receive their PhD award from their host institution.
Train with us
Do you wish to develop high-level research skills and forge an exciting career in the healthcare technology sector? Our training is innovative, the research opportunities ambitious, and experiences inspiring.
Are you from an engineering, physics, medical or clinical science background? Or perhaps has a clinical qualification related to prosthetic and orthotic use, or the patient’s groups who use prosthetic and orthotic devices? You may be a prosthetist, or a physiotherapist for example.
The Centre will bring together students from diverse backgrounds and supervisors from departments across four world leading Universities.
The CDT offers:
- Ambitious interdisciplinary PhD projects that blend high quality training with practical experiences that enhance employability.
- Training in research skills relevant to prosthetics, orthotics and the wider healthcare technology industry.
- Integrated training in engineering, physical, medical and health sciences, as well as business, entrepreneurial and other professional skills
- Opportunities to work on research projects directly with industry and users, and understand the journey from user needs to product or service implementation.
Research Topic Areas
- Intelligent sensor systems
- Smart wearable solutions for rehabilitation
- Design of assistive, adaptive rehabilitation technologies
- Advanced composites and materials
- Intelligent control
- Biomechanics of orthotic devices
- Factors affecting real-world use, design, control, and evaluation of P&O
- Design, prototyping and evaluation of prosthetic sockets
- Understanding user interactions with prostheses, orthoses and walking aids
- User-centred assistive technologies and outcome measures
- Biomechanics of skin and orthotic device interfaces
- Bio-mechatronics solutions for P&O
- A number of studentships each year are fully funded (fees and stipends) by EPSRC. This EPSRC funding is open only to UK applicants who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years immediately preceding the start of the course. More specifically the student must:
- Have settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay, AND
- Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences), AND
- Have not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education (this does not apply to UK nationals).
- UK students will receive the fully funded, four-year studentship. The studentships provide for PhD fees at the host institution and a stipend set at national rates (current stipend for 2021/2022 is £15,609 and is adjusted annually).
- Some studentships will be funded via other routes which will have different residency requirements and may be available to non-UK applicants as well.
- The CDT has a very limited number of studentships for international students that pay tuition fees and a stipend. International students can apply for funded projects at all four institutions.
Who should apply?
Applicants are normally expected to achieve either:
- a minimum of an upper-second class honours degree from an undergraduate course in an appropriate physical or biological science, science, mathematics or engineering
- a clinical qualification related to prosthetics, orthotics and the other relevant allied health disciplines, with additional evidence of skills in engineering and physical sciences (e.g. biomechanics, human gait)
We welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons. Please note that accessibility information about the University can be found on the DisabledGo app.
The University utilises digital tools for access to learning; if you require any reasonable adjustments for your visit or study please let us know.
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.
Interested? Please contact email@example.com
The application process
Applications are now closed.
Before beginning the application process please ensure you are aware of the student eligibility criteria and research topic areas.
Step 1: Submit Expression of interest
In order for us to assess your suitability and eligibility, please complete the Expression Of Interest (EOI) as well as the EDI form.
You are also required to attach a personal statement and a CV.
The first stage is an expression of interest (EOI). This is allows us to screen you for eligibility to receive ESPRC funding for your PhD and to assess if your research interests and academic background are suitable for entry onto a PhD with one of the four host institutions
In the EOI form you will be asked to identify three projects you wish to study. You must choose three projects you are interested in.
You are also required to provide as part of your EOI a CV, copies of certificates and transcripts and a personal statement.
Please use the personal statement as an opportunity to provide a detailed account your research interests and why you are applying to the CDT and the specific studentship project. We are interested in hearing details of your first/second degree and any previous of research experience. Please keep this statement to a maximum of 2 A4 pages in length.
Please ensure that we receive your CDT EOI form, CV, copies of certificates and transcripts and your personal statement through the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 2: Interview
Shortlisted applicants are then invited for an academic and industrial interview. At these interviews, your experience, interests and qualifications related to the CDT will be explored. After the interview suitable candidates will be linked to a particular university, project and industrial sponsor based on their research preferences. The interviews are scheduled to take place on 15th March. You must be available on this date.
Step 3: Register
If successful at interview you will be recommended to one of the host institutions for a CDT PhD studentship. Successful applicants will be informed and asked to go through the host intuitions online application process within a specified time frame. The specific research theme, host institution and funding recommended for you will be detailed to you in writing from the CDT.
The host institution will review your application to them and, subject to fulfilling their criteria for application, will formally offer you a place at the ESPRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Prosthetics and Orthotics.
Applicants should not, in the first instance, apply directly through their preferred host institutions application channels.
Applications are now closed.