Free open Job in Wales Movement-science inspired development of upper-limb prostheses for young children at Bangor University

Qualification type: PhD

Location: Bangor

Closing date: May 17 2019

Funding for: UK/EU students

Funding amount: Tax-free stipend of approximately £14,800 per annum plus tuition fees and a research allowance

Hours: Full Time

Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship (or 4-year Masters-plus-PhD, depending on qualifications) funded by the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership and the School of Psychology at Bangor University. The position will start in October 2019.

Supervisors: Simon Watt; Ken Valyear; Ben Ryan (Ambionics)

Project rationale and description: Growing up without a hand poses unique and difficult challenges. Prosthesis provision for infants and young children is extremely limited, and the basic-science principles that inform how children learn to use prosthetic devices are largely unknown.

This project will use human movement neuroscience to identify these principles and develop new upper-limb prostheses for infants and young children. Our overall aims are to improve prosthesis functionality and reduce rejection rates, in turn improving quality-of-life and independence for children with limb loss.

The project is a close collaboration between academic researchers in movement neuroscience at Bangor (Watt, Valyear), and Ambionics (lead by Ben Ryan; www.ambionics.co.uk), a local company which has been developing rapid-prototyped prostheses for infants and young children since 2016.

The project involves a range of scientific methods, including motion capture of movements in children with limb loss, and control children (and adults), as well as administering standardized clinical tests. There may also be opportunities for functional MRI studies. The project is anchored on the principle of combining fundamental science with practical applications, and the student will also complete placements at Ambionics, gaining experience in prosthesis design and production.

Facilities: The project is part of ongoing research in Watt and Valyear’s labs in the School of Psychology at Bangor University. The labs offer access to outstanding facilities for Cognitive Neuroscience, including motion capture, novel display technologies, eye-tracking, functional MRI, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Requirements: The successful applicant will have an undergraduate and/or master’s degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. psychology, neuroscience, biology, medical sciences, bioengineering, human factors). Applicants without an appropriate master’s degree are welcome to apply and, if successful, will be funded to complete an MSc in in Research Methods in Psychology at Bangor prior to enrolling on the PhD.

Strong work ethic and genuine enthusiasm for research are essential, as is the ability to work both independently and cooperatively. Programming skills and/or prior experience with motion capture methods will be beneficial, but are not necessary as training will be provided.

Residency requirements: To be eligible for the full award you must be an EU citizen, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the PhD. 

General information: PhD students are expected to contribute to teaching in the department.

Further information: In the first instance please contact Dr Simon Watt (s.watt@bangor.ac.uk) or Dr Ken Valyear (k.valyear@bangor.ac.uk) to discuss your application. Please include your CV and brief summary of your research interests.

General enquiries: For general advice about how to apply and eligibility please contact psychology@bangor.ac.uk

Apply Now: The online application form is available here https://apps.bangor.ac.uk/applicant/.

Bangor Doctoral School website: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/doctoral-school/

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