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PhD Rehabilitation robot for sensory retraining in chronic pain patience 1.0 FTE (220345)

Job description

In this project, we will develop a MRI compatible rehabilitation robot which links multiple tactile displays with a virtual environment. The robotic device will be used in multiple clinical trials to assess the possibility to reduce pain symptoms by means of sensory retraining. You will be embedded in the Engineering and Technology Institute Groningen at the University of Groningen and will collaborate with the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG).

The prevalence of chronic pain in the adult population of the Netherlands has been estimated to range up to 18%. Chronic pain severely affects quality of life, mental health, and performance in activities of daily living. Sensory training with meaningful tactile stimulation e.g. in context of a computer game might improve the ability of the brain to distinguish between noxious and non-noxious stimulation.
Within this project, we will combine micro-actuators with robotic technology to create a haptic virtual reality. The haptic interface will be used in pilot studies with healthy humans, and patients suffering from chronic pain syndrome.

In this PhD project, you will focus on the development of a virtual environment for computer games that use haptic stimulation to train the tactile sensation of people with chronic pain syndrome and conducts first pilot tests in a clinical environment. It is expected that you will collaborate with other PhD students and technicians at the Faculty of Science and Engineering as well as with clinicians and patients at the UMCG.


You have:

• a master’s degree in Bioengineering, Computer Science , Electrical & Electronics Engineering, Mechatronics, Mechanical Engineering, or other equivalent degree programme from top universities
• strong academic credentials, written and spoken English proficiency
• strong knowledge in systems and control, mechatronics and mathematics.


Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage currently more than 33,500 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and the top 100 universities in the world (see our ranking:, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

Within the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), the Engineering and Technology institute Groningen (ENTEG) conducts engineering science research and covers a broad area of mechanical engineering, control engineering, materials engineering, and (bio)-chemical engineering. The research unit Discrete Technology and Production Automation (DTPA) is focused on the dynamical modeling, analysis, mechatronics and control of complex electro-mechanical systems. The application areas include smart energy systems, mechatronic systems, robotic systems, as well as, multi-agent autonomous systems. For more information about the DTPA group please use the following link:

Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a salary of € 2,395 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,061 gross per month in the fourth and final year
  • a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus minimum of 29 holidays and additional 12 holidays in case of full-time employment.


Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, your application should include:

• letter of motivation
• curriculum vitae
• list of publications
• transcript of master and bachelor degrees
• contact information of two academic referees.

You can submit your application until 15 November 11:59pm / before 16 November 12:00pm 2020 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • Dr E. Wilhelm, e.wilhelm

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.