PhD Position in Neuroscience
University of Twente


Job description

Do you want to develop next-generation bionic limb technology to improve human balance and recovery after perturbations? Are you passionate about neuromusculoskeletal modelling and real-time control? Do you want to work between top-research centers and a world-leading prosthetic company in Europe? The Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the University of Twente is seeking for a creative and outstanding PhD candidate as part of the newly funded EU project SimBionics. You will become part of a growing team of roboticists, biomechanists, and prosthetics engineers.

About the project:
The SimBionics project aims at developing a novel control scheme to mimic the mechanical and somatosensory function of biological limbs that can provide better interfaces for current and future products. For this purpose, the project will develop a real-time, closed-loop and biomimetic control framework for bionic legs.
During the project, you will have the chance to build up your capacity of developing musculoskeletal leg models and use them to control prosthetic knee and ankle joints to improve balance in response to artificially induced perturbations. You will also receive training to improve your entrepreneurial and technological skills and develop a cross-sector mind-set that allows you to bring cutting-edge scientific achievements to the market.

About the program:
As an Early Stage Researcher of the Marie Skłodowska Curie European Industrial Doctorate you will have the chance to experience both the industrial and the academic world, while enrolled in a PhD program from the University of Twente. It is important to take into account that this position requires you to move between three EU countries during the project, thereby requiring VISA clearance. A 50% of your PhD will be conducted at the University of Twente (Netherlands) and the remaining 50% at OttoBock HealthCare (Duderstadt, Germany). Visits to the second academic partner (Aalborg University, Denmark) will also be scheduled. 
You are required to meet the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher eligibility criteria. Therefore, you must have had less than four years full-time equivalent research experience and must not have already obtained a PhD. Additionally, you must not have resided in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the start of appointment.

Your profile

Your tasks:
• Developing methods for estimating human body center of mass and extrapolated center mass in real-time.
• Developing neuromusculoskeletal models that can recover from perturbations.
• Developing novel closed-loop controllers for active knee and ankle prosthetic joints. 
• Validating these methods on amputees.

• University degrees in mechanical, mechatronics, computer, electrical engineering, or closely related disciplines.
• Affinity with neuro-musculoskeletal modelling and balance control.
• Experience with real-time object-oriented programming. 
• Interpersonal, organizational and communication skills, creativity.
• Proficient in written and oral English.


Apply by March 29th, 2020. Applications should include the following documents:
• A video (2-minute max) describing your scientific interests and why you are applying for this position. 
• A cover letter (1-page max) specifying how your experience and skills match the position. 
• A CV including English proficiency level, nationality, date of birth, experience overview, and publication list.
• Transcripts of BSc and MSc degrees.
• Contact information for at least two academic references. A support letter will be requested only if your application is considered.
Note that incomplete applications (not including cover letter, CV, video, and transcripts) will not be considered. Please, only apply via the application link below and not via email. 
For questions, please contact Assoc.-Prof. Massimo Sartori, mail:
Since only three documents can be uploaded per application, please combine documents if needed.

Our offer

• A fulltime (38 hours per week) PhD position for a duration of 48 months.
• A starting salary of € 2.325 in the first year and growing to € 2.972 in the fourth-year gross per month.
• A beautiful and growing campus with sport facilities, opportunities for personal development, and driven colleagues.
• Outstanding research facilities and working environment:
• Access to the new established Neuromechanics and Wearable Robotics Labs.
• Proximity to Enschede, a mid-size city with a large social offer, embedded in the beautiful nature of the Twente region.
• Fun work atmosphere with social events such as lab retreats.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET)
is one of the five faculties of the University of Twente. ET combines Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our faculty has approximately 1800 bachelor and master students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates. The departments of the faculty cooperatively conduct the educational programmes and participate in interdisciplinary research projects, programmes and the research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

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