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Process Monitoring and Control for 3D-printing Personalised Drug Delivery Devices (PROCEED 3D project)


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  Dr Marion McAfee  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A PhD position in process monitoring and control is available at the Atlantic Technological University (ATU Sligo campus) to enhance the feasibility of 3D printing personalised drug delivery devices at the point of care (for example a hospital setting). The PhD project will involve processing of complex sensor data - including novel optical and hyperspectral image data - to monitor and predict product quality, and advance the state of the art in process optimisation and control. The research will encompass aspects of experimental design, Process Analytical Technology (PAT), anomaly detection, sensor fusion, Digital Twin development, and optimal control.

3D printing of personalised therapies is predicted to have a hugely disruptive impact on drug delivery in both pharmaceutical and medical device applications, allowing the fabrication of devices tailored to a patient needs at the point of care. This project will focus on the fabrication route of Hot Melt Extrusion of drug loaded polymer filaments for 3D printing via Fused deposition Modelling (FDM). This route has advantages of high drug-loading, improved bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs, is suitable for a range of drug release kinetics and it is a solvent free ‘green’ process. This project aims to address the challenges in manufacturing high quality, drug-loaded devices with consistent dimensions, mechanical properties and ensuring the safety and efficacy of the fabricated device.

The successful candidate will be responsible for designing and conducting process trials (as part of a team) as well as development of sensing, monitoring and control algorithms. The successful candidate will work as part of a multidisciplinary team across ATU Sligo and the University of Limerick. Knowledge of materials/chemical processes is an advantage but motivation and a willingness to learn from other team members with different disciplinary backgrounds is more important.

Relevant Qualification Disciplines: Chemical/Mechanical/Mechatronic/Electronic/Control Engineering, Applied Physics or related discipline. Minimum of 2:1 at Honours Degree Level.

To Apply

Please send by email to Dr Marion McAfee ([Email Address Removed]) and CC Veronica Cawley ([Email Address Removed] )


1) A detailed cover letter

2) A full curriculum vitae

3) Academic transcripts for each year of study

4) Contact details of two academic referees

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit the original certificate of completion of an English test.

Please insert the subject line ‘SFI 2022’ with your electronic correspondence.

Closing Date for Applications: 17:00 local time, 19th of December 2022.

Funding Notes

Funding Arrangements: The studentships will be fully funded by Science Foundation Ireland, covering payment of fees and a bursary of annual value €18,500 for four years.


Candidates should have research interests/experience in two or more of the following fields as well as practical, hands-on skills:
- Process monitoring
- Process Modelling
- Control Systems
- Digital Twins
- Data Analytics/Machine Learning/AI
- Optimisation
- Process Analytical Technology (PAT)
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