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Design of cranial reconstruction plates: integrating engineering analysis and understanding

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Customised medical implants are widely used in healthcare for applications such as craniofacial reconstruction after trauma or tumour removal. These one-off implants are designed and manufactured for the individual patient’s needs. Often, the surgeon is given freedom to design the shape and attachment method of medical implants. However, few methods are available to support the surgeon with engineering analysis.

For example, a titanium cranial plate that replaces a large section of the cranium may be fixed with any number of screws as deemed appropriate by the surgeon. Many other aspects of the design are also adjustable, including the shape of the plate and how it interfaces with the bone.

In this project, the successful candidate will develop new understanding of how implant design affects the performance of medical implants.

Depending on the successful candidate work may include:
- Experimental: 3D print a human skull model and test a range of cranial plates, which will either be manufactured at the university or obtained directly from a hospital.
- And/or computer modelling: Finite element analysis or analytical models will be developed to simulate cranial plates and optimise their design.

The ultimate aim is to generate new implant design methods to improve patient outcomes.

Depending on the successful candidate, there may be opportunities to work with surgeons who manufacture the implants in the hospital or medical product manufacturers in the UK, Finland or Spain.

Please contact Andy Gleadall () to discuss how the project may be tailored to your specific skills and interests.


Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in mechanical, electrical, aerospace, civil engineering or a related subject.

How to apply

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select ‘Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering’

Please quote reference number: AGUF18

Funding Notes

UK/EU Fee band : 2018/19: £4,260, 2019:20: TBC
International Fee band : 2018/19: £20,500, 2019/20: £21,100

Full duration: 3 years
Part Time: 6 years

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