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  University of Bath URSA project: Multistable actuation and control mechanisms for soft robotics

   Department of Mechanical Engineering

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  Dr Evripides Loukaides, Dr Min Pan  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the University of Bath URSA competition.


Nonlinear structural phenomena were previously dealt with trepidation in the context of traditional engineering structures. However, recent work has shown that it can be leveraged to induced desirable mechanical behaviour such as multistability and auxeticity. These advances have led to new applications in diverse domains such as robotics, aerospace and biomedical engineering. At the same time, progress in manufacturing processes and material development has facilitated the production of sophisticated soft robotic devices with little or no rigid components. Such structures can now be printed using rubber-like materials and actuated with a large range of techniques, including electromagnetic forces as well as hydraulic or pneumatic power.

This project will bring together these domains and will exploit synergies between them to design and test soft structures with novel capabilities. In particular, the work will study bistable mechanisms that utilize the fast-switching potential of those structures and will incorporate them in larger engineering systems. For example, we will seek to combine structural functionality with other desirable functions such as sensing and mechanical energy storage. The project will draw from existing but distinct work within the Department of Mechanical Engineering and will combine diverse expertise. Technical work will consist of analytical modelling along with numerical simulation and physical testing.

The successful candidate will benefit from frequent interaction with industrial partners, state-of-the-art facilities, excellent technical support, as well as collaborations with other major academic institutions.

Candidate Requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent) in Mechanical or Structural Engineering, Physics, Applied Mathematics or similar field. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement by February 2023 in order to be considered for funding.

Enquiries and Applications

Informal enquiries are encouraged! Direct these to Dr Evripides Loukaides - [Email Address Removed]

Please make a formal application should via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Mechanical Engineering

When completing the form, please identify your application as being for the URSA studentship competition in Section 3 Finance (question 2) and quote the project title and lead supervisor’s name in the ‘Your research interests’ section. 

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for funding, you must qualify as a Home student. The eligibility criteria for Home fee status are detailed and too complex to be summarised here in full; however, as a general guide, the following applicants will normally qualify subject to meeting residency requirements:

  • UK nationals (living in the UK or EEA/Switzerland)
  • Irish nationals (living in the UK or EEA/Switzerland)
  • Those with Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • EU nationals with pre-settled or settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Additional information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage, on the GOV.UK website and on the UKCISA website.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

We value a diverse research environment and strive to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We encourage applications from under-represented groups. In particular, we are welcoming applications from candidates with Refugee, Asylum Seeker, or Humanitarian Protection in the UK to our Doctoral Sanctuary Studentship in Engineering and Design.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.

The Disability Service ensures that individuals with disabilities are provided the support that they need. If you state if your application that you have a disability, the Disability Service will contact you as part of this process to discuss your needs.

Keywords: Aerospace Engineering; Civil Engineering; Engineering Mathematics; Manufacturing Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Mechanics; Robotics; Solid Mechanics; Solid State Physics; Structural Mechanics

Engineering (12) Mathematics (25) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Candidates may be considered for a University of Bath (URSA) studentship tenable for 3.5 years. Funding covers tuition fees at the ‘Home’ rate, a stipend (£17,668 p/a in 2022/23) and a £1000/annum training budget.
As URSA studentships only cover the ‘Home’ tuition fee rate, Overseas students are not eligible to apply. Are you an Outstanding Overseas student (e.g. with a UK Masters Distinction or international equivalent) who is interested in this project? If so, please contact the intended supervisor in the first instance, to discuss the possibility of applying for additional funding.

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