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Natural Bionics: Natural Integration of Bionic Limbs via Spinal Interfacing

   Department of Bioengineering

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  Prof Dario Farina  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The post is funded by the European Research Council Synergy Grant Natural BionicS and aims at translation research in motor neuroscience within the application areas of prosthetics and neural rehabilitation.

To carry out research in sensorimotor control, specifically in relation to peripheral electrical stimulation of afferent pathways and neuromodulation, in order to explore and characterize rehabilitation modalities to promote neural plasticity and functional improvements. In addition, the PhD student will be expected to conduct human behavioural experiments and submit publications to refereed journals and to attract external research funding.     

Key Responsibilities

Research Duties

·      To take initiatives in the planning of research

·      To direct the work of small research teams

·      To identify and develop suitable techniques, and apparatus, for the collection and analysis of data

·      To conduct data analysis

·      To ensure the validity and reliability of data at all times

·      To maintain accurate and complete records of all findings

·      To write reports for submission to research sponsors

·      To present findings to colleagues and at conferences

·      To submit publications to refereed journals

·      To provide guidance to staff and students

·      To attend relevant workshops and conferences as necessary

·      To develop contacts and research collaborations within the College and the wider community

·      To promote the reputation of the Group, the Department and the College

·      Contribute to bids for research grants

·      To conduct and plan own scientific work with appropriate supervision.

·      To maintain highly organised and accurate record of experimental work.

·      To actively participate in the research programme of the Group

·      To publish in high quality journals and to present data at national and international meetings.

·      To participate in Group research meetings and internal seminars.

·      To collaborate with other allied scientists within Imperial College and elsewhere in London and abroad, as appropriate.

·      To contribute to the smooth running of the Group’s laboratories and, facilities with other scientists, clinicians, technicians and students within the laboratories.

·      To assist in the supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate research students and research assistants as required.

·      To comply with the College, Division, and Unit safety practices and to attend courses on safety when appropriate.

·      Any other duties as may be deemed reasonable by Head of group as well as Head of Division/Department/Section.

Where Imperial or funder conditions necessitate, you will be required to complete timesheets for your work on projects in a timely manner.

Other Duties

·      To undertake any necessary training and/or development

·      To undertake appropriate administration tasks

·      To attend relevant meetings

·      To observe and comply with all College policies and regulations, including the key policies and procedures on Confidentiality, Conflict of Interest, Business Continuity, Data Protection, Equal Opportunities, Ethics related, External Interests, Financial Regulations, Health and Safety, Imperial Expectations (for new leaders, managers and supervisors), Information Technology, and Smoking.

·      To undertake specific safety responsibilities relevant to individual roles, as set out on the College Health and Safety Structure and Responsibilities web page:

·      To undertake Business Continuity responsibilities relevant to individual roles

Person Specification


Candidates/post holders will be expected to demonstrate the following

Essential (E)/

Desirable (D)

·      Education

  • At PhD studentship level: a good undergraduate degree or MSc (or their equivalents) in neuroscience, mathematics, physics or engineering; candidates with demonstrable experience in sensorimotor control/modulation will be considered



·      Experience in sensorimotor research (1+ years)


·      Experience in electrical stimulation of the central nervous system (spinal cord stimulation, peripheral electrical stimulation)


·      Knowledge on methods for plasticity induction in central nervous system


·      Knowledge of research methods and statistical procedures


·      Knowledge on neurophysiology of voluntary movements and motor control


·      Practical experience within a research environment and / or publication in relevant and refereed journals


·     Computer literate with a good knowledge of different computer programs with experience in data presentation and statistical analyses, especially strong expertise in programming with Matlab and Python.


·     Experience with human experiments


·      Experience in research with patients with motor disorders (SCI, stroke, or tremor)


·      Experience in multivariate analysis of biological data (e.g., EMG, neural activity, fMRI)


·      Experience in acquisition and analysis of biomechanics


·      Experience in designing and running clinical studies


Skills & Abilities

·      Ability to conduct a detailed review of recent literature


·      Ability to develop and apply new concepts


·      Creative approach to problem-solving


·      Excellent verbal communication skills and the ability to deal with a wide range of people


·      Excellent written communication skills and the ability to write clearly and succinctly for publication


·      Ability to direct the work of a small research team and motivate others to produce a high standard of work


·      Experience in leading collaborative research projects


·      Ability to organise own work with minimal supervision


·      Ability to prioritise own work in response to deadlines


·      Advanced computer skills, including word-processing, spreadsheets and the Internet



·      Willingness to work as part of a team and to be open-minded and cooperative


·      Flexible attitude towards work


·      Discipline and regard for confidentiality and security at all times


·      Willingness to undertake any necessary training for the role


·      Experience and track record in scientific outreach


·      Willingness to travel both within the United Kingdom and abroad to conduct research and attend conferences


·     Willingness to work out of normal working hours (including weekends) if the requirements of the project demand.


Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity and to eliminating discrimination. All employees are expected to follow the 7 Imperial Expectations detailed below:

A full job description is available on request.



Funding Notes

This will be a PhD position which will be funded with the European project “Natural BionicS: Natural Integration of Bionic Limbs via Spinal Interfacing”. This is an European Research Council (ERC) project

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