Best Doctoral Thesis in Biomechanics

Best PhD in biomechanics award.

The Best Doctoral Thesis in Biomechanics recognizes the development of an outstanding doctoral final thesis that has contributed to the advancement of the theory and/or applications of Biomechanics.  The selection will be based on the original PhD document (written in English) and associated CV.  The award will be judged by an ad hoc Award Committee appointed by the ESB Council and chaired by the ESB Awards Committee Chairperson. The award includes an honorarium of €2,000 and a certificate. The winner will also be requested to present an award keynote lecture at the following ESB Congress.

ESB Doctoral award candidates must be an ESB member in good standing from at least six months at the time of submission.  Please check your membership and payment status before applying for this award.   For detailed information on eligibility and the selection procedure, please refer to the Awards Regulations.

Eligible candidates are those who have defended their PhD in the period 1st January 2021 – 31st December 2021.

The deadline for receipt of nominations to be awarded during the 2022 ESB Yearly Congress is January 31st 2022.

Applicants will be informed about the outcome of the evaluation process in late spring.

Application PROCEDURE:

Applications are invited until 31st January 2022  (23:59 Central European Time).  The Author of the PhD thesis  should apply by email to the chair of the Awards Committee: Prof. Markus Heller ( – with up to 20 MB attachments).  You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt within one week; if you do not hear back please check with the Award Chair  if there has been any problems with transmission of the mail and/or attachments.

The application should include the application form, letter(s) of recommendation, a complete CV, the complete final PhD thesis and an Abstract, all presented in English.  For more information, please refer to the Award regulations.

Note: applying for the Doctoral Award does not automatically imply that your paper will be presented during the ESB yearly congress: only the award winner will present his/her work in a dedicated plenary lecture.  If you wish to submit a paper for the ESB yearly congress, you should do so through the Congress portal, as a separate process.


The Award Committee is pleased to announce that the winner of the ESB Best Doctoral Thesis in Biomechanics Award 2021 is:

2021 – Guillaume Durandau (University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
“Towards the next Generation in Human-machine interfacing: Controlling Wearable Robots via Neuromusculoskeletal Modelling”
Supervisor: Massimo Sartori

2021 – Runners-up:

  • Immaculada Llop-Harillo (Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain)
  • Max Olender (MIT Boston, USA)


PAST WINNERS of the ESB Best Doctoral Thesis in Biomechanics

2020 – Alberto Sensini (University of Bologna, Italy)
“Electrospun biomaterials and structures for the regeneration of tendons and ligaments: development and biomechanical validation”
Supervisors: Luca Cristofolini, Andrea Zucchelli, Maria Letizia Focarete

2020 – Runners-up:

  • Antoine Falisse (KU Leuven, Belgium)
  • Mirko Bonfati (University College London, UK)

2019 – Tommaso Ristori (TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
“Computational analysis of cell-mediated remodeling of collagenous tissues”
Supervisors: Frank P.T. Baaijens, Vikram S. Deshpande, Sandra Loerakker

2019 – Runners-up:

  • Marta Peña Fernandez, University of Portsmouth, UK
  • Maarten Afschrift, KU Leuven, Belgium

2018 – Miguel Ángel Ariza-Gracia (University of Zaragoza, Spain)
“Methods for characterising patient-specific corneal biomechanics”
Supervisors: Begoña Calvo Calzada and José Félix Rodríguez Matas

2018 – Runner-up:

  • Niklas Konig Ignasiak, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

2017 – Lorenzo Grassi (Lund University, Sweden)
“Femoral strength prediction using finite element models: validation of models based on CT and reconstructed DXA against full-field measurements.” Supervisors: Assoc Prof Hanna Isaksson and Prof Matti Ristinmaa

2017 – Runners-up:

  • Vahid Arabi, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
  • Petri Tanska, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

2016 – Loes Derikx (KU Leuven)
“Femoral fracture risk prediction in metastatic bone disease”
Supervisors: Prof. dr. ir. N. Verdonschot & Prof. dr. I. Jonkers

2015 – Aurélie Carlier (KU Leuven)
“Multi-scale modelling of angiogenesis during bone regeneration”
Supervisors: Prof. Hans van Oosterwyck and Prof. Liesbet Geris

2014 – Carlos Borau Zamora (University of Zaragoza)
“Multiscale computational modeling of single cell migration in 3D”,
Supervisors: José Manuel García-Aznar & Roger D. Kamm

2013 – Angelo Karunaratne (Queen Mary University of London, UK) “Analysis of alterations in matrix quality at nanoscale in metabolic bone diseases using synchrotron x-ray diffraction”
Supervisor: Dr Himadri Gupta. 

2012 – Sandra Loerakker (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, the Netherlands) “The relative contributions of muscle deformation and ischaemia to pressure ulcer development”
Supervisors: Prof. F.P.T. Baaijens and D.L. Bader.