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The University of Southampton
Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin Network

PhD Studentship: Identifying robust algorithms to Monitor Patient mobility in the Community: an indicator of developing pressure ulcers

Published: 17 May 2016
University of Southampton
University of Southampton

The Skin Health research group at the University of Southampton adopts a translational approach to improve patient care in hospitals and the community setting. The project, funded through an EPSRC CASE award in association with a UK plc company, Sumed, will provide an opportunity to conduct a PhD with a multidisciplinary team of internationally leading researchers.


The CASE award focuses on a clinical situation in which soft tissues are subjected to sustained pressure (and shear forces), typically involving those who are bedridden or confined to chairs. This can lead to localised compromise of soft tissues, over a bony prominence, resulting in their breakdown and the development of chronic wounds, termed pressure ulcers (PUs).In the last few years this condition has been recognised as both a Patient Safety and Quality of Care indicator for health care providers, with associated treatment costs estimated at £4 billion annually in the UK.


The PhD programme will aim to develop innovative technologies and interventions that enable the identification of patients at risk of pressure ulcers and provide effective management strategies for those patients and their healthcare professionals. This project will be conducted in collaboration with Sumed, who have extensive experience marketing and distributing support surfaces and patient monitoring devices (e.g. XSENSOR ForeSite). The project will aim to develop novel algorithms in conjunction with sensing technologies to predict tissue tolerance levels and provide an objective means of monitoring patient positioning, mobility and tissue health. This will be achieved through a series of lab and clinical based studies to ensure translation from bench to bedside using a range of biomechanical and physiological measures in conjunction with selected biomarkers.


Research will be conducted in the new Clinical Academic Facility, which houses two research testing labs and a biological Class 2 laboratory. Other studies will be performed in an Environmental-controlled room within the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility. The multidisciplinary team have established links with colleagues in the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment and close collaboration with clinicians working in acute hospital and community settings.


The Studentship is for 3 years and will begin in September 2016 and you will be supported by an annual stipend averaging at £15,000 per annum.


The ideal candidate will have skills in computational modelling and/or biomechanical and physiological monitoring. In general the candidate should present a strong desire to work in the bioengineering sciences.


To apply for this studentship you must:

  • Have achieved a 2:1 honours degree or higher, or ain a health or social care related subject.
  • Be able to provide two satisfactory reference.
  • Candidates whose first language is not English are also required to reach a satisfactory standard in an approved test in English. See website for details of minimum requirements.



Notes for editors


Please apply to with a CV and an outline research proposal by 17 June 2016 and state the name of the project(s) you are applying for.

For further information regarding the EPSRC CASE award please contact Professor Dan Bader ( or Dr Peter Worsley (, Tel: +44(0)2381 208287).



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