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Research Studentship in Additive manufacturing of bioresorbable mechanical metamaterials

Research Studentship in Additive manufacturing of bioresorbable mechanical metamaterials

3.5-year D.Phil. studentship 

Project: Additive manufacturing of bioresorbable mechanical metamaterials

Supervisors: Prof Reece Oosterbeek

Damage to the human musculoskeletal system is a leading cause of pain, disability and lost productivity, affecting over 20 million people in the UK alone. Conditions such as lower back pain or bone fractures are prevalent and often require intervention using implant devices. In recent years additive manufacturing (AM) has offered exciting potential for improving current implant materials, including fabrication of mechanical metamaterial architectures and processing of bioresorbable materials for temporary implants.

Mechanical metamaterials are designed structures where the geometry results in unusual mechanical properties. Often enabled by AM, such structures can have properties such as auxeticity, which has been utilized for prototype orthopedic implants. Bioresorbable materials are also of great importance in implant design, for temporary implants such as orthopedic fixations. By combining mechanical metamaterial structures with bioresorbable materials, there is enormous potential to optimize the slow decay of material properties during degradation and generate new material and device functions. A multi-physics approach is essential to consider the degradation process simultaneously alongside the mechanical properties during the design of new metamaterial geometries.

This project aims to create new metamaterials using additive manufacturing of bioresorbable polymers and/or composites, to control both the mechanical and degradation behavior through structural and material design. These new metamaterials could include hierarchically porous structures, rationally designed lattices, or algorithmically generated structures. This project will involve development of polymer PBF (powder bed fusion) AM methods, material, and 3D structural characterisation, as well as detailed assessment of the mechanical and degradation performance in simulated biological environments. There will also be opportunities to investigate modelling-based approaches to mechanical and degradation performance and develop prototype medical devices for specific applications. The project offers several avenues for investigation and there is some scope for the student and supervisor to define the project scope based on their research interests.


This studentship is open to Home students (full award – home fees plus stipend).

There is very limited flexibility to support international students. If you are an international student and want to apply for this studentship please contact the supervisor to see whether the flexibility might be available for you.

Award Value

Course fees are covered at the level set for Home students (c. £9500 p.a. for 24/25). The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) is c. £18622 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two and a half years. 

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A strong upper second- or first-class honours degree in Engineering, Physics or Materials Science
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills
  • Motivated, creative, and kind, with the ability to work independently and as part of a team

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Strong laboratory-based experimental skills, especially 3D printing experience
  • Experience with finite element modelling for mechanics

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Prof Reece Oosterbeek (

Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria.  Details are available on the course page of the University website.

Please quote <24ENGSMM_RO> in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application deadline: noon on 1st December

Start date: October 2024