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Development of novel pulse technology for the rapid communication of vascular disease in blood vessels

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

Funding details:  Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International (including EU at international rates from Sept 21)

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

Application deadline: 27 May 2023

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2023

To find out more about the project, please contact Prof John Allen or Dr Moe Elgendi


This PhD research project is part of the collaboration between the Centre for Intelligent Healthcare (CIH) and the Biomedical Health Technology (BMHT) Lab at ETHZ. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to conduct his/her research project both at CIH in Coventry and at BMHT in Switzerland. By engaging in research in the UK and Switzerland, the programme offers researchers the opportunity to access the state-of-art research facilities and advance their knowledge and expertise in sensors including photoplethysmography (PPG), physiological measurement, bio-signal processing, and vascular measurements whilst they develop their intercultural skills and international networks and collaborations.

The successful candidate will enrol at Coventry University, UK as their home institution and will spend up to 1.5 years at ETHZ. Our Coventry group is experienced in intelligent healthcare, sensing and physiological measurements / analysis, and vascular measurements. The ETHZ group has rich experiences in advanced signal processing of physiological data and sensors. The complementary expertise of both groups will ensure the successful implementation of this collaborative project.

If you are interested in applying, please contact Prof John Allen in the first instance or Dr Moe Elgendi can also be contacted for further information.

Project details

Photoplethysmography (PPG, a technique often found in wearable fitness monitors/watches) is a low-cost optical pulse technique that can detect tissue blood volume changes with each heartbeat. It is often used on the skin surface at body measurement sites such as the finger and/or toe pads. PPG waveforms are multi-component and are known to contain valuable physiological information - the pulse can be significantly altered in patients with vascular disease. We will study the waveforms further and develop novel digital PPG sensing technology with advanced signal processing to enable the rapid visualization to communicate if there is disease in the blood vessels. The work will also inform key sensing/analysis and disease detection know-how to take forward for future wider studies on patients with circulatory diseases.

We are looking for highly motivated candidates ideally with previous experience of physiological sensor development or digital signal processing. The PhD project requires working with biosensor, physiological measurement, and bio-signal processing researchers at different stages along the development pathway – and will lead to high-quality publications. It will involve optical sensor prototyping, physiological data collection and analysis, and the visualization/communication and study of complex data sets.


Tuition fees and bursary.


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. 

Candidate specification

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English.  The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

 For further details please visit: 

Desirable Specifications

  • Previous experience of physiological sensor development and electronics, and also digital signal processing;
  • Knowledge of the cardiovascular and circulatory systems;
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis;
  • Knowledge of related software (Matlab, Python, R, SPSS, etc.);
  • 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 Prof John Allen (Centre for Intelligent Healthcare) and Dr Moe Elgendi (Biomedical Health Technology (BMHT) Lab at ETHZ).          

To apply on line please visit:

All applications require full supporting documentation, CV, 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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