PhD Position in Materials Chemistry and Surgical Robotics

36 hours a week
€ 2.901 - € 3.677

Closing date: April 30

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Ph.D. Position in Materials Chemistry and Surgical Robotics: Soft Advanced Robotics for Minimally Invasive Surgery.

Job description

Minimally invasive surgery aims to develop treatments for patients that come with high accuracy but minimal intervention. Yet, state-of-the-art procedures still require incision or catheterization of the body, and many tools and physical control of the equipment and introducing hard materials that do not resemble the nature of the tissue surrounding it, such as a cardiovascular stent. This PhD project will design, synthesize, and operate a new multi-responsive soft miniaturized robot/device to replace current stentgraft materials and placement procedures for aneurysm treatment. The robot is envisioned to be inserted via injection, translocated to the sight of function, and be placed, controlled, and tuned on the spot using completely non-invasive external triggers. Towards this end, we will create new hydrogel robots bearing various implemented modes of responsiveness enabling magnetic locomotion, MRI visibility, and induced reshaping of the robot while medical ultrasound is able to visualize the robot and trigger on-demand release of payload from. Introduction of bio-orthogonal chemistry will enhance tissue interaction and controlling/altering hydrogel-chemical properties via external triggers such as light. As part of on-going efforts within HTRIC, this project will open up new avenues for the design of minimally invasive interventions, ultimately taking innovation from the bench to bed-side.

Working environment

The prospective Ph.D. student will work in an international and interdisciplinary team in a fast-paced, creative, and collaborative research environment in the department of Biomaterials % Biomedical Technology, based at the renowned University Medical Center Groningen and the University of Groningen

The project is a collaboration between the surgical robotics and autonomous soft materials research groups and specialists at vascular surgery. The supervising team strives to create an equitable, inclusive, and respectful environment, where researchers of different backgrounds and disciplines can work at the forefront of science. Surgical Robotics Laboratory: The Health Technology Research and Innovation Cluster (HTRIC) is rethinking the future of healthcare. We bring academic research, health technology, and clinical practice together to tackle the challenges faced by today’s healthcare system. Our aspiration? More healthy years of life for the people around us!
Through our research, we will foster new developments that support healthy aging and longevity while improving people’s quality of life and making healthcare more efficient. We focus on the entire innovation chain, from societal and clinical demands to groundbreaking innovations and first-in-human applications.
e aim to speed up innovation through the interplay of knowledge development, health technology development, and business development. By linking researchers, businesses, and external professionals, we want to develop technologies that will continue to improve and transform our healthcare system. This is what HTRIC stands for.

What do we need

We are looking for an excellent, creative, and highly motivated colleague with:

  • An M.Sc./Master’s degree in engineering, physics, materials sciences, biochemistry, chemistry, or equivalent.
  • Passion for translational research at the interface of fundamental sciences and clinical practice.
  • Demonstrable research experience in mechatronics, organic synthesis, hydrogels and elastomers, and/or biochemistry, as the applicant will design and study chemical reaction systems that organize physical functionalities in soft materials, as well as control the soft robots/devices. The ideal candidate will have experience in more than one of the mentioned topics.
  • Demonstrable research experience in use of imaging modalities such as MRI, medical ultrasound is preferred,
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • Willingness to acquire a variety of additional skills ranging from basic programming and 3D modelling, to device prototyping.
  • Well-developed communication and collaboration skills.

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. The UMCG can provide you with the vaccination, should it be required for your position.
In case of specific professions a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ is required.

What do we offer

We offer 1 fulltime research position within the Department of Biomedical Engineering. The position is for four years. However, you will get a fulltime contract for 1 year, which will be extended for 3 years after evaluation. Extension of the contract will be based on sufficient progress and the expectation of a successful completion of the Ph.D. project. Your salary will be € 2.901,- gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 3.677,- gross per month (PhD salary scale) in the 4th year, based on a full-time appointment. In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. The conditions of employment comply with the


Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed.
You can apply until 30 April 2024.
Within half an hour after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.


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