PhD Engineering Scholarship: Laser Technologies in Medical Applications (2024)

A 3.5 year Engineering PhD scholarship based in the High Precision and Optical Metrology research lab led by Dr Rodrigo Aviles-Espinosa.

What you get

You will receive a tax-free stipend at a standard rate of £19,237 per year and your fees will be waived (at the UK, EU, or International rate). In addition, to a one-off Research and Training Support Grant of £2,000.

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

Within the last two decades, multiple efforts have been focused on introducing robotic surgeries in routine procedures including ophthalmology, urology, gynaecology, cardiology, etc. Current commercial robotic systems allow the surgeon to manipulate laparoscopic toolswith millimetric precision. 

However, specialized procedures such as reconstructive microsurgeries, surgical anastomosis, vitreoretinal eye surgery, neurosurgery etc have not yet benefited from robotic surgery given the requirement for sub-millimetre precision considering both the robotic system and surgical tools  

This project will bring the fields of ultra short-pulsed laser surgical tools development with high precision robotics to develop the future optical surgical devicesdelivering submillimetre accuracy for those structures present in specialized procedures (i.e. blood vessels, nerves, cells) 

The researcher will design, develop, and test novel laser based surgical devices which will be fully integrated in our existing high precision robotic devices to address the above-mentioned challenges. This will be carried out by:  

  1. Designing optical devices for optimum laser beam delivery considering the surgical task requirements. 
  2. Building optical probes capable of providing visualization and manipulation suited for a given micro-surgical task.    
  3. Assessing the performance of the developed tool to propose enhancements 
  4. Integrating the optical tool with our high precision robot.  
  5. Analysing complex sets of big-data images to extract relevant information using automated strategies. 


This scholarship is available to UK, EU and overseas applicants. 

Eligible candidates will have an upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in Physics or Physics Engineering. In addition, to having obtained an an internationally recognised master’s degree (or evidence of its completion in the nearest future) in Physics, Bioengineering, Electrical Engineering or a related field. 

Knowledge in: 

  • Optics and implementation of optical setups and Zemax simulation 
  • Control software and programming skills (LabView, NI-RIO, NI-DAQ, etc.) 
  • Image processing (image J, Matlab, etc) 
  • CAD design 

It will be evaluated favourably if the candidate has experience in spectroscopy and microscopy techniques, and inhandling/developing tissue phantoms. Likewise, it will be desirable for the candidate to demonstrate good communication skills and command of the English language.The candidate should hold appropriate expertise from their studies or MSc project to contribute to the research field described above. 

The University of Sussex believes that the diversity of its staff and student community is fundamental to creative thinking, pedagogic innovation, intellectual challenge, and the interdisciplinary approach to research and learning. We celebrate and promote diversity,equality and inclusion amongst our staff and students. As such, we welcome applicants from all backgrounds.


Number of scholarships available



31 May 2024 23:59

How to apply

Apply online for a full time PhD in Engineering (SEP2024) using our step-by-step guide.

Please clearly state on your application that you are applying for the Laser Technologies in Medical Applications Scholarship under the supervision of Dr Rodrigo Aviles-Espinosa.

Please ensure you application includes each of the following: 

  • A research proposal. For guidance on preparing your proposal, please see here. 
  • Degree certificates and transcripts. 
  • 2 references, including a minimum of 1 from any institution studied at within the last 5 years.
  • If your first language is not English you will need to demonstrate that you meet the University’s English language requirements, see here for details of our accepted documentation. 

Contact us

For general enquiries, please email 

For project specific queries, please email 


Application deadline: 31st May 2024 23:59 GMT 

Interviews: Mid June 2024

Offers issued to successful candidates: By the 1st July 

PhD entry: 16th September 2024


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
31 May 2024 23:59 (GMT)


The award is available to people from these specific countries: