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Development of human soft tissue substitute material

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  • Full or part time
    Prof SL Evans
    Dr H Wyatt
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Cutting and puncturing of skin occurs regularly in healthcare, for example during surgery, however, there is limited understanding of the biomechanics involved. This is challenging due to the complex mechanical behaviour of skin and the natural variation of mechanical properties. As such the aim of this project is to better understand the cutting biomechanics of skin and to use this understanding to develop substitute materials to mimic cutting behaviour. This project will be at the cutting edge of biomechanics and the developed substitute will have use in many applications including training clinicians and evaluating medical devices.
In year 1 you will review and characterise existing skin substitutes, developing data sets of their mechanical behaviour and understanding their limitations. In year 2 you will conduct mechanical testing of skin to better understand cutting biomechanics. This will involve close collaboration with KU Leuven, where you will be expected to spend extended periods of time. In year 3 you will design and develop a skin substitute, mimicking cutting behaviour, bringing together the knowledge acquired in years 1 and 2.
The project is suitable for a candidate with a mechanical or medical engineering degree with a keen interest in biomechanics and soft tissue mechanics. You would join world leading research groups at both Cardiff University and KU Leuven, with over 100 publications and £10M in research funding between them. This will provide you with access to the expertise and facilities at both universities including the optical strain measurement expertise of Cardiff and the excellent human tissue testing facilities of KU Leuven. You will also help to build on successful REF 2014 results, where Cardiff came top 5 in the UK for research excellence. KU Leuven has an excellent reputation, ranked within the top 50 Universities in the world by the Times.


You should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK.

Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have a master’s degree. Applicants with a minimum Upper Second Class degree and significant relevant non-academic experience are encouraged to apply.

Funding Notes

Full awards, including the Tuition fee and maintenance stipend (Approx. £14,777 in 2018/19), are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education.


Applications should be made online at:

Please note the following when completing your online application:

The Programme name is Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering with an October 2019 start date.

In the "Research proposal and Funding" section of your application, please specify the project title, supervisors of the project and copy the project description in the text box provided.

Please select “No, I am not self-funding my research” when asked whether you are self-funding your research.

Please quote “SE-DTP-2019” when asked "Please provide the name of the funding you are applying for".

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