PhD scholarship in Digital Twin in Healthcare: Patient System Modelling for Rehabilitation by Exoskeleton

Monday 15 Mar 21

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The Department of Technology, Management and Economics at DTU-Technical University of Denmark invites applications for a 3-year PhD position in rehabilitation by exoskeleton, funded by the Horizon2020 EU project called ReHyb - Rehabilitation based on hybrid neuroprosthesis. This includes an active exoskeleton that allows flexible training and mobility of the stroke patients plus active control through functional electrical stimulation (FES). Such hybrid systems are advantageous because the users’ own muscular activity initialises the movements. The PhD position will design and use a Digital Twin within this context.

The PhD position will be based in the Innovation Division and specifically in the research section Engineering Systems Design. The Engineering Systems Design section is characterised by a vibrant and supportive research environment with engaged staff and strong research collaborations with leading universities and industry worldwide. Our research focuses on understanding and improving the ways in which complex socio-technical engineering systems are designed and managed throughout their life cycles. We have a number of health innovation research projects and are members of the Copenhagen Center for Health Technology (

You are expected to start September 1st, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The research field is within engineering design and system architecture and behaviour modelling. The ReHyb project designs an upper-body hybrid exoskeletal neuroprosthesis using cooperative control strategies based on data-driven system identification and probabilistic estimation techniques, namely creating the digital twin of a user. It will be the particular focus of the PhD project to design and implement this digital twin. In addition to the European research partners, here at DTU, positions connected to the project also include a PhD project on AR/VR interface design for rehabilitation by exoskeleton.

Responsibilities and qualifications
You will become part of a research team working intensively with design and development of parts of a robotic device for neurorehabilitation for stroke patients. 

The focus for the PhD study will be to integrate all available knowledge from the user (including physiological state, behaviour, intent) and from the prosthesis (including multi-modal data from various mechatronic sensors and higher-level computational data), a system-embedded digital twin is to be designed, replicating its human counterpart as precisely as possible. This will involve mechanical modelling but also representation of the user’s muscular status, the user’s vision (from gaze tracking), and the estimation of user intent and task engagement. In particular, you will be designing multimodal interactions for the patient, who will use arm and hand movement, plus gaze and head to control the robot.

The model to be developed will first be operable off-line and should target a real-time embedded application to support all of the exoskeleton’s use cases. Use case scenarios have been defined by our medical partners on the EU H2020 ReHyb project.

Are you interested in advanced health technology, then perhaps you are our new PhD student:

  • You will be responsible for design and development of a digital twin model of a stroke patient, together with its supporting exoskeleton.
  • You will work with active exoskeletons that allow for flexible training and mobility of the patient.
  • You will contribute to advanced research conducted here on design methodologies within the fields of engineering design and AR/VR and multimodal interaction.
  • You strive to advance system design, with system architecting, system modelling, digital twins, or hybrid, embedded and real-time systems, especially within the application context of healthcare.
  • You are proficient with system architecting and modelling methods and tools such as Unity, Simulink, OpenModelica, SysML, or OPM/OPL.
  • You have an interest in human behaviour and in the design of architectural change-enabling principles such as modularity, extensibility or evolvability.
  • You have the ability to work focused and to achieve ambitious goals.
  • You will be collaborating closely with leading European research partners and high-tech companies.
  • You are capable of working within a wider research project and can be a strong driver for the required deliveries of modular and tightly connected project tasks.
  • You are engaged and aim to excel in research dissemination.

You should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. A relevant background could be a master’s degree in electrical engineering, computer science, interaction design, engineering design, game design or a degree in other areas with additional qualifications relevant for the responsibilities and tasks.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognised for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterised by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor John Paulin Hansen,, +45 4046 9626, or Professor Anja Maier,, +45 4525 6045. 

You can read more about the Engineering Systems Design section at information about H2020 ReHyb can be found here: .

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU–Moving to Denmark

Please submit your online application no later than 3 May 2021 (Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application, including your research activities and ideas for the research project (cover letter, max 3-pages)
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Grade transcripts and copies of your original BSc/MSc diploma, certificates, and lists of subjects with your results as well as their preferably official translation into English.
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Two reference contacts who may be contacted by the assessment committee

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

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DTU Management conducts excellent research in the intersection between management, technology, and economics. We develop solutions in close cooperation with companies and public authorities. Our research aims at strengthening welfare, productivity, and sustainability within the society. A key element is the role of technology and its interaction with industry and individuals. The department’s research is divided in four divisions: Innovation, Management Science, Sustainability and Transport. Furthermore, the department hosts a UN Collaborating Centre. The UN DTU Partnership conducts research, policy analysis and advising on a global scale. The department offers a wide range of courses and programs at BSc, MSc, and PhD level across DTU’s study programs. DTU Management employs about 320 people. We offer an international environment with around 50 different nationalities represented at the department.

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DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.