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Movement-science inspired development of upper-limb prostheses for young children

Project Description

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;, 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 limb-intact 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. Furthermore, Bangor is situated in a beautiful region of North Wales close to Snowdonia National Park, which provides a wonderful natural backdrop to professional life.
Requirements: The successful applicant will have a master’s degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. psychology, neuroscience, biology, medical sciences, bioengineering, human factors).
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.
General information: PhD students are expected to contribute to teaching in the department.
Further information: In the first instance please contact Dr Simon Watt () or Dr Ken Valyear () 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
Apply Now: The online application form is available here
Bangor Doctoral School website:

Funding Notes

Funding amount: Tax-free stipend of approximately £15,009 per annum plus tuition fees and a research allowance of £750 per annum
Hours: Full Time

How good is research at Bangor University in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 21.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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