Optimum Design of a Low-Cost High-Endurance Adjustable and Expandable Transtibial Passive-Foot Prosthetic

Optimum Design of a Low-Cost High-Endurance Adjustable and Expandable Transtibial Passive-Foot Prosthetic

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

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/EU/International)

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

Application deadline: 10th May 2021

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2021 (there is a possibility of January 2022 entry subject to discussion and agreement)

For queries contact Dr Demetrios T. Venetsanos.

GCRF PhD Studentships

This is a GCRF fully-funded PhD studentship.

See the full list of available opportunities


Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship within the Institute for Future Transport and Cities (IFTC).

The successful candidate will be joining the Transport Safety and Simulations (TSS) Group at IFTC. The TSS Group is dedicated to modelling, verification, analysis and testing of transport-related systems.

The Institute of Future Transport and Cities at Coventry University has a unique position – with over 130 research staff and 140 PhD research students capitalising on our links with Coventry City and its status as a European Living Lab for transport and our close collaboration and joint initiatives with major stakeholders. IFTC brings together world class expertise in disciplines across engineering, manufacturing, computer systems and business studies to deliver our vision of “safe and sustainable transport solutions fit for the cities of the future”.

This research project is a collaboration between Coventry University (UK), Alchemie S&P Limited (UK) and the National Technical University of Athens - Manufacturing Technology Division (Greece).

Project details

In Low/Lower-Medium Income Countries (LMICs), roughly 30M people need prostheses but only a few can afford one. There is extensive past and contemporary research on low-cost passive-foot prosthetics, e.g. Dyson-Circleg, M.I.T.-Nylon prosthesis, Western Sydney University:Ultra-low-cost prosthesis, Imperial College:Low cost through-knee prosthesis. However, all these designs are of a fixed size thus not suitable for long-term use by children or teenagers, whose body is still growing.

The proposed project targets the unmet need of a low-cost, expandable and adjustable transtibial (Below-the-Knee) prosthetic, exploring low-cost manufacturing processes of low-cost but high-endurance materials, such as composites with fibre-reinforced resins (e.g. terpolyaramide fibres and nano-tube enhanced resins).

An optimised novel passive-foot prosthetic will be designed. The endurance will be simulated using industry-standard CAD/CAE software and will concern axial, oblique, side-impact and fatigue loadings. Topology Optimization procedures towards the minimum-weight configuration and minimum cost of the design will be developed. Experimental validation of simulations will also be conducted. It is aspired that a prototype will be manufactured and experts, e.g. Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, will be asked to test and evaluate the prototype (e.g. as per ISO10328:2016).

Some research questions to be addressed in this project are as follows:

  • What is the mechanical performance of thin-walled slender structures of non-uniform-thickness, made of composites with fibre-reinforced resins, under:
  • Fatigue;
  • Axial and Oblique crashing;
  • Side Impact.
  • How does ambient temperature affect the aforesaid performance?
  • How can a size-adjusting feature be introduced in a transtibial prosthetic?
  • How can topology optimisation be implemented in a transtibial prosthetic design?


Fully funded single studentship, which includes tuition fees and living expenses for a doctoral candidate over 3.5 years.

Stipend rates will be equivalent to those set by UKRI and will rise annually with a projected average increase of 1.25% per year. CU fees are adjusted yearly in line with the rates set by UKRI.


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 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)
In addition
  • MSc, or equivalent academic title, in a relevant discipline/subject area;
  • Excellent knowledge of an industry-standard CAD software (preferably CATIA or SolidWorks);
  • Excellent knowledge of one of the following industry-standard CAE software for explicit dynamics simulations: LS-Dyna or Abaqus or Ansys;
  • Excellent knowledge of MatLab/Optimization Toolbox and coupling MatLab with industry-standard CAE software;
  • Very good knowledge of organising and running experiments related to axial or oblique crashing of tubes;
  • Excellent ability for data analysis and interpretation of results based on (solid or computational) mechanics;
  • Very good knowledge of using HPC.

How to apply

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

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