PhD Studentship in Computational Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Robotics

Biocomputation Research Group

Centre for Computer Science and Informatics Research

University of Hertfordshire, UK

Application deadline 1 June 2020

Bursary GBP 15,285 p.a.

Applications are invited for PhD positions in the Biocomputation Research Group at the University of Hertfordshire. (

Project description

Stroke is a major cause of disability in adults. More than 15 million strokes occur every year in the world, and more than 100,000 of these affect patients in the UK. Stroke patients often have an impaired ability to control their upper limbs and need assistance with every-day tasks. Relearning motor skills after stroke is similar to learning new motor skills, for example learning to play tennis, but a problem for stroke survivors is that their impaired movements often restrict the ability to use sensory feedback for re-learning.

Rehabilitation robotics has shown promise to augment the rehabilitation process and to offer feedback on performance. However, the personalisation of the therapy to individual needs remains a major challenge to date.

The proposed project will use a computational model of the cerebellum that is being developed by the Biocomputation Research Group ( to optimise robotic rehabilitation for individual subjects. The cerebellum has been optimised throughout vertebrate evolution to become an adaptive controller of biological skeletomuscular structures that is unrivalled by any artificial adaptive motor control algorithm. This has led and is still leading to the development of a rapidly increasing number of computational models of cerebellar learning, and to the successful applications of these cerebellar models to controlling simulated and real robots. The PhD project will involve the development and application of personalised cerebellar models in order to optimise rehabilitation robots for individual subjects.

Applicants should have excellent computational and numerical skills and a very good first degree in computer science, biology, maths, physics, neuroscience, or a related discipline. Successful candidates are eligible for a research studentship award from the University (GBP 15,285 per annum bursary plus payment of the student fees). Applicants from outside the UK or EU are eligible.

Research in Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire has been recognised as excellent in the latest Research Excellence Framework Assessment, with 50% of the research submitted rated as internationally excellent or world leading. The Centre for Computer Science and Informatics Research provides a very stimulating environment, offering a large number of specialised and interdisciplinary seminars as well as general training and researcher development opportunities. The University is situated in Hatfield, in the green belt just north of London.

Please contact Dr Volker Steuber or Prof Farshid Amirabdollahian for informal enquiries. Application forms are available under and should be returned to doctoralcollegeadmissions AT herts DOT ac DOT uk.

The short-listing process will begin on 1 June 2020.

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