PhD Studentship: Frugal and Biomedical Engineering for Low-resource Settings

University of Warwick

  • Funding for: Home Students
  • Funding amount: Refer to advert
  • Hours: Full Time
  • Discipline: Engineering and Technology
  • Subcategories:
    • Biotechnology
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Systems Engineering
    • Other Engineering

Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Start date: 2nd October 2023

Funding for: 3.5 years

Supervisor: Dr Davide Piaggio

Project Description:

The medical device market is continuously growing, at higher rates than the related fields of pharmacological and biotechnologies. In 10 years, 2010-2019, the number of Medtech patents granted each year by the European Patent Office doubled. Currently, over 85% of the world MD market share is owned by upper middle- and high-income countries (US, Europe, China, Japan, and Canada), with the US and Europe accounting for 70%. These countries set de facto standards that cannot be taken for granted in low-resource settings (LRSs). When MDs designed following these standards, i.e., adequate for high-resource settings, are used in LRSs, their safety and effectiveness is hindered, because the operating context of the device is not guaranteed. Therefore, patients and users’ safety can be seriously compromised. In addition to this, as of now, the medical device industry is lagging behind others (e.g., automotive) in terms of sustainability and its impact on the environment and life on land.

This project will build on previously created frameworks for the assessment of medical locations in LRSs as well as the design of medical devices resilient to these settings. It will aim to further investigate how a contextualised and frugal engineering approach, along with mHealth, eHealth, 3D printing and protocycling can be used to overcome some of the major challenges. The project will start off by expanding already existing frugal medical device concepts, such as a smartphone app for screening for diabetic neuropathies, to bring them to higher readiness levels. The project also has room for further case studies that can be proposed by or discussed with the candidate. Finally, this project will also be looking at how the medical device sector could be made more sustainable also with a frugal engineering approach.


The award will cover the tuition fees at the UK/Home rate £4,712, plus a stipend of £18,622 per annum for 3.5 years of full-time study. International candidates are welcome to apply but must meet the fee difference should they be accepted.


This studentship will suit anyone with an engineering background, preferably with a focus on biomedical engineering and experience with one or all of the following: medical device design, mHealth, eHealth, CAD and 3D printing. Good knowledge of programming/creating algorithms (any language) is important. Matlab/Python knowledge are a plus. Previous experience with smartphone app programming is desired but not essential. Good versatility, ability to work independently and in a team, organizational skills, spirit of enterprise, and creativity are required.

How to apply:

Candidates should submit a formal application, details of how to do so can be found here  

Application form ‘Course search’:

Department: School of Engineering

Academic Year: 2023/24

Type of Course: Postgraduate Research

  • Engineering (MPhil/PhD) (P-H1Q2)

In the application form funding section, enter: Source: DP-Frugal

If you have any questions or would like more information about this project, please contact Dr Davide Piaggio  

View or Apply
To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.

Job Location