Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



School of Mechanical and Design Engineering

Start dates

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

This project is now closed. The details below are for information purposes only.

This 3-year self-funded PhD will be based in the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering and will be supervised by Dr Bidyut Pal, Dr Gianluca Tozzi and Professor Gordon Blunn.

The work on this project will:

  • Contribute to research on multi-scale modelling and characterisation of orthopaedic implant fixation
  • inform future implant design

Despite the success of joint replacement procedures, failures of reconstructed joints are still a major concern.

For example, the cumulative probability of revision (95% CI) after primary hip replacement is 6.2% after 11 years, and the number of primary joint replacement procedures is increasing year by year – with a total of ~700,000 hip surgeries carried out between 2003 and 2014. Around 10% of these primary surgeries are expected to undergo a revision surgery.

As these revision surgeries are less successful, costlier, and technically more demanding, this represents an increasing cost to the healthcare system.

Mechanical loosening of the implant is responsible for the largest proportion of the failures of reconstructed joints. Implant fixation, a key area concerning how implants are secured to bone – and the influence of implant design on the long-term integrity of such fixation under physiological loading conditions – has primarily been investigated based on the continuum Finite Element (FE) modelling approach at a macro-scale, and more recently using micromechanics approach.

However, the precise relationship between the failure of the reconstructed joints and the role of the biomechanical factors are yet to be fully understood.

The aim of the proposed research is to develop a fundamental understanding of the mechanics of repair and replacement strategies of load-bearing hard tissues. Multiscale characterisation (i.e. advanced XCT imaging/3D printing) and FE modelling will be carried out for typical cases, sought from clinical collaborations with surgeons; and generic information on treatment strategies will be developed for applications in orthopaedics.

The successful candidate will contribute to the research in multi-scale modelling and characterisation of orthopaedic implant fixation, and will work in the Bioneer research group, contributing to the development of a multi-scale modelling framework, building models at the micro- and macro- scales to gain insight into implant fixation integrity. These findings will inform the design of future implants which can help to improve clinical outcomes.

The approach will include a combination of FE modelling, advanced experimental techniques (in situ high-resolution XCT imaging), and 3D printing of implant prototype. There are exceptional facilities in-house for orthopaedic research  including in situ loading arrangements within a high-resolution micro-focus CT; associated Digital Image/Volume Correlation techniques (DIC/DVC); and a laser sintering based 3D metal printer at the Zeiss Global Centre at the Future Technology Centre. 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering.
  • In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications.
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Knowledge of biomechanics, finite element modelling, solid modelling, programming and medical image processing will be an advantage.

How to apply

Please contact Dr Bidyut Pal ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you're ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Mechanical and Design Engineering’ as the subject area. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.

Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

Please note: to be considered for this self-funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code ENGN4650219 when applying.

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