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PhD studentship: The Bionic Eye – embedding electronic systems in a tissue engineered cornea

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  • Full or part time
    Prof CJ Connon
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Number of awards

Start date and duration
28 September 2020. 3 Year PhD

You will join a world class team undertaking adventurous research at the interface of tissue engineering and microelectronics. A bionic cornea will merge the biology of an artificial cornea with engineering to fabricate an active embedded microelectronics system that can sense, actuate and make decisions. The idea of a bionic organism, or a cyborg, may sound like straight-up science fiction. But in reality, these are just futuristic ways to describe a living system that has some inorganic components designed to improve or alter its functionality.

Advances in tissue engineering mean that functional tissue can now be grown in the lab, this offers the opportunity to think beyond recreating normal physiology and consider transplantable super tissue engineered constructs. By combining the unique strengths at Newcastle University in both corneal tissue engineering and microelectronics we are able to offer an exciting PhD project that integrates this expertise.

Newcastle University

Name of supervisor(s)
Professor Che John Connon (, Professor of Tissue Engineering

Professor Anthony O’Neill (, Siemens Professor of Microelectronics

Dr Enrique Escobedo-Cousin (, RA Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Dr Will Innes, Consultant Medical Ophthalmologist

Eligibility Criteria
You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree in physical sciences, life sciences or engineering . A further qualification such as an MSc or MRes is advantageous.

This award is available to UK/EU and international applicants.

To study this course you need to meet the following English Language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all other sub-skills).

How to apply
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’ (

Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:

insert the programme code 8300F* in the programme of study section
select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Biosciences as the programme of study
insert the studentship code BI018 in the studentship/partnership reference field
attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code BI018 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

* The online application system will only allow one application using the programme code 8300F. If you are applying for TWO or more projects using that code then you will need to email our Postgraduate Admissions Service ([Email Address Removed]) with the following information:

your application number (from the first project application that you submitted online)
the second studentship code and its corresponding title
a two page covering letter for the second project

Our Postgraduate Admissions Service ( will then forward this information to the relevant selector in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Prof Che John Connon [Email Address Removed]

Prof Anthony O’Neill [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £15,285 (full award). Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

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