PhD Engineering Scholarship: Intuitive Interface for Human Movement Augmentation in Robotic Surgery (2024)

A 3.5 year PhD Engineering under the supervision of Dr Yanpei Huang.

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

Many surgical procedures require cooperation between the surgeon and their assistants, where the communication is critically important as it will ultimately determine the intervention's efficiency and thus the patient's condition. Robot-assisted surgery gives an opportunity to augment the surgeon capabilities by controlling multiple robotic arms all by themself and thus avoid potential errors due to miscommunication. 

This project will develop an innovative hands-free body interface for controlling a third surgical tool together with the operator's hands in an intuitive manner, by relying on direct and shared control strategies. The interface is expected to command the remote robot across multiple degrees of freedom by interpreting the movement or force exerted by specific body segments, facilitated through an intuitive mapping. In the shared control paradigm, the robot is granted a level of autonomy to effectively collaborate with the user in accomplishing the task 

To select optimal control strategies, individual movement patterns in various task scenarios will be extracted from experimental trials involving human subjects, employing advanced machine learning algorithms. These extracted patterns will inform the selection of suitable control strategies, ensuring an adaptive system and optimizing user performance. 

The envisioned application scenarios are in robotic laparoscopic surgery and microsurgery, where the integration of such mechanisms promises to enhance efficiency and overall surgical outcomes. 

A deep knowledge of mechatronics and interest in carrying out experiments with human operators are desired. 


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 a related field. 

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



15 September 2024 23:59

How to apply

Apply online for a full time PhD in Engineering (JAN2025) using our step-by-step guide.

Please clearly state on your application that you are applying for the Intuitive Interface for Human Movement Augmentation in Robotic Surgery scholarship under the supervision of Dr Yanpei Huang.

Please ensure you application includes each of the following: 

  • A personal statament indicating your research interests. 
  • Your CV.
  • 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




At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
15 September 2024 23:59 (GMT)


The award is available to people from these specific countries: