PhD Position at Insigneo, Sheffield

PhD position (Closing date: 30th January 2019)

Validation of a micro-finite-element model for contact-induced stresses at bone joints

Supervisor: Dr Pinaki Bhattacharya

Are you a bright, enthusiastic and self-motivated student interested in a PhD in biomechanics? A position is now available at the Integrated Musculo-Skeletal Biomechanics (IMSB) group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

The IMSB group is part of the Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine and possesses extensive experience in the development of computer simulations to better understand the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system. In addition, this PhD project will profit from world-class collaborations at ETH Zürich (Switzerland) and KU Leuven (Belgium).

Research context

Figure 1. Stresses inside the femoral head induced by contact at the hip-joint

Contact occurs everywhere in musculoskeletal biomechanics, most notably at bone joints, where contact-induced stresses determine both fracture risk and joint disease progression.

Micro-finite-element (uFE) models – supported by specialised, highly-efficient, parallelized solvers (e.g. ParOSol) – can potentially predict contact-induced stresses with high accuracy using a recently-introduced contact formulation (SS-SC). Yet this opportunity to make an important technological breakthrough still needs to be realised.

The PhD project will involve:

  • Enriching an existing uFE solver by implementing the SS-SC formulation;
  • Analysing contact-induced stresses in the wrist joint using the enriched solver;
  • Performing cadaver experiments to validate uFE model predictions.

You should expect to undertake research stays at both collaborating universities (ETH Zürich and KU Leuven) for training purposes.

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate should have or be expected to obtain a 1st class or a good 2.1 degree in mechanical engineering, bioengineering, computer science, physics, applied mathematics or a related discipline.

Experience in programming languages (e.g. C, C++, Matlab, Python) is essential. Exposure to high-performance computing or previous knowledge of finite-element analysis and/or experimental testing is highly desirable.

Funding and Duration

A three-year studentship funded by the Department of Mechanical Engineering is available for UK and EU applicants. The studentship covers the cost of tuition fees and provides an annual tax-free stipend at the standard UK research rate.

How to apply


For further information about this project, please contact Dr Pinaki Bhattacharya, with “VOXCON PhD studentship” in the title, at

To apply, please use our standard on-line PhD application form, including your CV and two references, and indicate on your form that you are replying to this advert. For further guidance on applying, please email