Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Early Stage Researcher - Development of an Advanced Control System for Spinal Simulators

This job offer has expired

    Key Engineering Solutions Limited
    Biological sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    20/01/2019 23:00 - Europe/London
    United Kingdom › Leeds
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Key Engineering Solutions Limited are an engineering services company who facilitate their customers to know no bounds and help them to solve the most challenging of robotic and automated problems. The business is based in Leeds, England, employs 3 people and has a turnover of approximately €420k. The company possesses expertise in the following core technology areas: robotic systems, embedded control, cloud-based asset management and real-time vision applications. The company is also an Alliance Partner of National instruments, whom are a global supplier of measurement and control hardware. The company has a subsidiary arm that utilises in-house 3D printing technologies to develop low cost tools for oil and gas pipeline inspection.

We are pleased to invite applications for a PhD position in the new four-year EU-funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN programme “Training innovative future leaders in research and development of materials and implants for the spine” (NU-SPINE, nu-spine.eu, project ID 812 765). This network is led by Prof. Cecilia Persson at Uppsala University and consists of three European universities (Uppsala University, ETH Zürich and University of Leeds) as well as industrial (IHI Ionbond AG, CeramTec GmbH, Key Engineering Solutions, AMEDICA Corp and OssDsign AB) and clinical (Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust) collaborators.

Project description:

NU-SPINE aims to deliver novel material compositions with a higher degree of biocompatibility as well as novel implant designs adapted to the local loading situation. Important deliverables for the network are also innovative methods for more accurate evaluation of the demanding tribological and corrosive conditions surrounding the implants. NU-SPINE will train talented researchers with the scientific and entrepreneurial mind required of the next generation of leaders in academia and industry connected to these medical devices. As a PhD student, you will benefit from a tailored, multidisciplinary, scientific training programme, and be exposed to different environments via planned placements, and contribute to and organise workshops.

The PhD will focus on specifying, developing and validating an advanced control system for a spinal simulator, such that the output complies with necessary regulations and international norms (ISO 18192-1). Verification and validation of appropriate force and/or torque control strategies will be conducted utilising an existing simulator at the University of Leeds. The successful candidate will be primarily supervised by Dr David Keeling (Managing Director of Key Engineering Solutions Limited) and co-supervised by Professor Richard Hall of the University of Leeds. The project will be based within the brand-new Nexus innovation centre, which is a £40m state-of-the-art building located on the University of Leeds’ Campus and houses a community of technology businesses of all shapes and sizes that work, connect and collaborate with the research and innovation expertise at the University of Leeds. The position includes secondments at the University of Leeds, UK (PM14-17) and ETH Zürich, Switzerland (PM25-27). Throughout the project the candidate will be expected to engage with parallel business activities at Key Engineering Solutions Limited and demonstrate technical and entrepreneurial talent.


The Marie Curie programme offers attractive salary and working conditions. Benefits include mobility allowance, and a family allowance. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the Marie Curie regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment.

Eligibility criteria

The eligibility criteria for this specific project are as follows:

  • The applicant must, at the date of recruitment, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the undergraduate degree.
  • The applicant must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

Selection process

Applications should include a cover letter, including a brief description of research interests and relevant experience, a CV, copies of diplomas and certificates, master thesis (or a draft thereof) and other relevant documents. The candidates are encouraged to provide letter(s) of recommendation and contact information to reference persons. Candidates that are invited for interview will be informed by 20th January 2019, with interviews being held in the week beginning 28th January 2019. For any further information or to submit an application, please contact:

Dr David Keeling, Managing Director of Key Engineering Solutions Limited


Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Engineering: Bachelor Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


Your main duties will include:

  • Conducting world-class research focussed on advanced control systems for spinal applications and NU-SPINE activities;
  • Developing initiative, creativity and judgement in applying appropriate approaches to research activities;
  • Actively participate in all relevant activities organised by the network as advised by the Supervisor;
  • Attending meetings as required to discuss the project. This will involve occasional EU-wide travel, beyond that associated with secondments;
  • Ensuring good day-to-day progress of work, and maintaining good records;
  • Writing up results for publication and attending suitable conferences for their dissemination;
  • Working both independently and as part of a larger team of researchers, including interacting with and providing assistance to other staff in the research group and the NU-SPINE network and engaging in knowledge-transfer activities where appropriate and feasible;
  • Contributing to joint discussions within the wider research group and network; and
  • Maintaining your own continuing professional development.

These duties provide a framework for the role and should not be regarded as a definitive list. Other reasonable duties may be required consistent with the grade of the post.

Specific Requirements

We are seeking a candidate with:

  • An MSc or equivalent in engineering, with a focus on e.g. mechatronics, electrical and/or mechanical engineering, control systems, data acquisition & automation;
  • A strong motivation and proven ability to work both independently and in a team;
  • Good time management and planning skills, with the ability to meet tight deadlines and work effectively under pressure;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills including presentation skills, in English;
  • A strong commitment to your own continuous professional development;
  • Interest in entrepreneurship and being engaged with industrial projects; and
  • Satisfy the eligibility requirements to enrol on a PhD degree.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Key Engineering Solutions Limited
United Kingdom
Discovery Way

EURAXESS offer ID: 365777


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