Accurate detection of true effective labour using electrohysterography: Towards remote pregnancy monitoring in low-resource settings

Accurate detection of true effective labour using electrohysterography: Towards remote pregnancy monitoring in low-resource settings

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees

Duration: Full-time – three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 15th October 2020

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2021

For queries contact Professor Dingchang Zheng.


The physiological mechanism that initiates the onset of labour remains poorly understood with persisting clinical challenges. There are 15 million babies born preterm every year and globally, rates are rising. Less than 10% of extremely preterm babies die in high-income settings, whereas 90% of extremely preterm babies born in low-income countries die within the first few days of life (WHO 2019). Safe and timely transfer to a site with maternal and neonatal high dependency care is critical for survival. Delayed or prolonged labour is also problematic with extended pregnancy (41+weeks) being associated with increased risk of stillbirth and maternal morbidity and mortality including post-partum haemorrhage.

This project aims to better understand how the uterine contraction features change with time before effective term labour using electrohysterography (EHG), and investigate its difference with pre-mature delivery, from which innovative technologies will be developed to achieve accurate detection of effective labour.

The project involves working with an interdisciplinary team with expertise in engineering, electrophysiology, maternity care and service user engagement which would offer the student exposure to the application of data-driven approaches and novel application to real world clinical challenges, and will lead to a patentable medical technique and high-quality publications.


  • Tuition fees
  • Bursary: £15,000 per annum (3.5 years)
  • Additional allowances: £250 per academic year


Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
  • Degree in the relevant specialist subject area such as Electronic Engineering, Biomedical Engineering or Computer Science
  • Background in electrophysiology or similar
  • Coding/ programming (e.g. Matlab) skills in bio-signal processing
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis techniques
  • Knowledge of software development (desired)
  • Ability to think innovatively and critically analyse data and results
  • Good written and oral communication skills
  • A record of presenting papers at conferences and of publishing peer reviewed research papers (desired)
  • Ability to meet deadlines, sometimes under pressure
  • Ability to work independently and also as part of a local and international multidisciplinary team
  • Willingness to take on roles to enhance research team activities and profile

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Professor Dingchang Zheng.

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

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