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Measurement of ultrasound scanner performance

   BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science

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  Prof C Moran, Dr Stephen Pye  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project is one of 15 four year PhD Studentships funded by Medical Research Scotland (MRS) ( to be delivered jointly by the named University and External Partner Organisation (EPO). The Studentship will provide first-class research-training, and additional training provided by the EPO, needed to equip the successful candidate for a science career in an increasingly competitive market.

"Objective assessment of ultrasound scanner performance to support new and emerging ultrasound imaging technologies" to be delivered by the University of Edinburgh [Supervisors: Professor Carmel Moran, Dr Stephen Pye and Dr Scott Inglis (all Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh)] and NPL Management Ltd ( [External Partner Organisation supervisor: Dr Raphaela Baesso].

Ultrasound imaging is one of the most widely used imaging modalities within hospitals accounting for over 25% of all clinical imaging examinations in the UK. To ensure these scanners are performing to a pre-determined standard, the scanners are routinely tested using commercially available test-objects. These test-objects incorporate features (eg thin wires, small echogenic spheres in echogenic attenuating media) and measure a variety of performance metrics. Although these metrics are clinically relevant they do not yield a holistic metric which directly relates to the imaging performance of ultrasound scanners.

We have developed the concept of the resolution integral, a single metric to quantify the imaging performance of ultrasound scanners. To measure this metric a test-object (the Edinburgh Pipe Phantom) has been developed and over 350 ultrasound scanners have been evaluated (Moran CM, et al 2022, DOI: 10.1055/a-1194-3818). However, with the advent of new ultrasound imaging techniques and higher technology transducers, further development of this test-object is required. The project will involve a combination of theoretical and practical work, including: 

- Measuring the acoustic non-linear properties of tissue mimicking material (TMM) over a broad range of frequencies

- Modifying the test object to determine the effect of slice-thickness on the performance of the ultrasound scanners

- Developing the software code and Technical Evaluation App to support the calculation of the resolution integral

These objectives underpin the design and manufacture of a refined test-object to quantitatively assess new ultrasound imaging modalities and technologies. The test object will then be used to assess a range of clinical ultrasound scanners.

The successful candidate will join a vibrant ultrasound imaging team based within the Centre for Cardiovascular Science in Queen's Medical Research Institute, adjacent to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. The student will also spend time at the National Physical Laboratory - NPL (Teddington, London) working with a world-leading metrology acoustics group.


Enquiries should be sent by email to: Professor Carmel Moran

[Email Address Removed]


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first or 2.1 UK honours degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK, in physics or engineering with evidence of hands-on laboratory experience.

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU nationals that hold UK settled or pre-settled status and international students. The University of Edinburgh will be able to offer a scholarship to cover the difference between the home fees (funded by Medical Research Scotland) and international fees for successful applicants.

Applicants should send a covering letter explaining why they would be suited to this PhD project, a full Curriculum Vitae and the names and contact details (including email addresses) of at least two academic referees by email to Professor Carmel Moran

[Email Address Removed]

Please note, your application may be shared with the funders of this PhD Studentship, Medical Research Scotland and NPL Management Ltd.

Interviews are expected to take place 3-4 weeks after the closing date for applications.

It is anticipated that the PhD Studentship will start 2 October 2023.

Funding Notes

The PhD Studentship provides: an annual tax-free stipend of £19,000, increasing to £19,500 over the four years; tuition fees; consumables; and a generous travel allowance. Medical Research Scotland will fund fees at the Home (UK) rate. The University of Edinburgh will be able to offer a scholarship to cover the difference between home and international fees for successful applicants


Moran CM, McLeod C, Inglis S, McBride K, Pye SD The imaging performance of diagnostic ultrasound scanners using the Edinburgh Pipe Phantom to measure the resolution integral - 15 years' experience. European Journal of Ultrasound 2022;43:393-402, DOI: 10.1055/a-1194-3818.;;

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