two builders looking at a pipe

Using computer vision technologies for analysing awkward postures in construction workers (DU led)

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 date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2023

For further details contact: Dr Saurav Sthapit


This PhD project is part of the Cotutelle arrangement between Coventry University, UK and Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

The successful applicant will spend the 1st year at Deakin University and the following year at Coventry University and then the final 1.5 years at Deakin University  

The supervision team will be drawn from the two Universities. 

Project details

Construction industry has one of the highest rates of work-related injury or illness. In Australia and UK, the construction industry has the third-highest fatality rate of any industry (Safe Work Australia, 2020; Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2021).

The construction fatality rate in 2020 was higher than the 5-year average in both countries. This indicates that the industry has reached saturation with respect to the traditional injury prevention strategies and new safety innovations are needed. Wearable sensors can provide a viable innovative technology to improve workplace health and safety in the construction sector.

The PhD research aims to adopt wearable sensors/accelerometers to detect and analyse awkward postures and control the risk of musculoskeletal disorders as the most significant illness in the Australian and UK construction sector. The aim is a dynamic and non-invasive method for monitoring and controlling the risk in near real-time.

The research will address the below questions:

  • Can we develop an ergonomic hazard assessment model using computer vision which would be best suited to the context of construction work, and can outperform the existing models?
  • Can we develop an On-site real-time alert system to prevent the negative consequences of ergonomic hazards?

The objectives of this study are as follows:

  • Develop a real-time motion capture system using computer vision that enable workers' self-awareness of ergonomically hazardous operational patterns for different construction activities
  • Develop an automatic risk postures assessment and real-time warning system
  • Develop an alert system to send customized alerts to workers exposed to an unacceptable level of risk


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

Applicants must meet the admission and scholarship criteria for both Coventry University and Deakin University for entry to the cotutelle programme.

  • Applicants should have graduated within the top 15% of their undergraduate cohort. This might include a high 2:1 in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 70% mark (80% for Australian graduates) in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 70% overall module average (80% for Australian graduates).
  • A Masters degree in a relevant subject area, with overall mark at minimum Merit level. In addition, the mark for the Masters dissertation (or equivalent) must be a minimum of 80%. Please note that where a candidate has a 70-79% and can provide evidence of research experience to meet equivalency to the minimum first – class honours equivalent (80%+) additional evidence can be submitted and may include independently peer – reviewed publications, research – related awards or prizes and/ or professional reports.
  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study

For an overview of each University’s entry requirements please visit:

Please note that it is essential that applicants confirm that they are able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia).

How to apply

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

All candidates must apply to both Universities. 

Apply to Coventry University Apply to Deakin University
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