PhD opportunity: real world estimate of walking speed

PhD opportunity: real world estimate of walking speed
Closing date
Employer: The University of Sheffield (Department of Mechanical Engineering) Location: Sheffield


Wearable sensors technology based on inertial measurement units (IMUs) is leading the transition from laboratory-based gait analysis, to daily life gait monitoring. However, the validity of IMU-based methods for the characterization of real-world gait is still limited, especially in pathological populations. This is because measuring real-world gait is far from simple or straightforward. The validity of IMU based methods for gait detection and gait feature extractions is typically tested in laboratory settings, during straight walking, and against references such as instrumented mats, force platforms, or motion capture systems, and often relying on a limited number of consecutive strides. To date, there is no gold-standard validation of algorithms in real-world conditions in patient cohorts with slow walking speed that adequately accounts for associated difficulties.

In this PhD project, co-funded by Grünenthal GmbH and co-supervised by Prof. Claudia Mazzà at the University of Sheffield and Dr Andrea Cereatti from the University of Sassari, you will collaborate to the development and validation of experimental tools for the validation of the gait events and gait speed quantification in real world scenarios, in both in supervised and unsupervised conditions, in a variety of patient populations. The PhD project will be part of a large five-years project that will start in April 2019 as part of the Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI). The IMI is an EU public-private partnership funding health research and innovation, working to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines, particularly in areas where there is an unmet medical or social need. It is funded jointly by the European Union (represented by the European Commission) and the European pharmaceutical industry (represented by EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations).

We are looking for an excellent student with an Engineering or Physics background, and with previous expertise in signal processing and wearable sensors. You will have to be fluent in English and be prepared to travel among several countries, including but not limited to Belgium, Germany, Israel, Italy, Norway, Switzerland and UK.

Please note, this position is only open to UK and EU citizens.

Deadline for the application is March 25th, with the aim of starting the project as soon as possible after April 1st.

Funding Notes
This studentship covers the cost of tuition fees and provides an annual tax-free stipend at the standard UK research rate (£14,777 in 2018/19).

How to apply?

Please contact Prof. Claudia Mazzà at before you submit an official application. For further information and to apply visit:

Contact details

Please contact Prof. Claudia Mazzà at before you submit an official application.