PhD position Non-assembly 3D printing of surgical instruments

Department/faculty: Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Level: University Graduate
Working hours: 38.0 hours weekly
Contract: 4 years
Salary: 2266 - 2897 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The 3mE Faculty trains committed engineering students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers in ground-breaking scientific research in the fields of mechanical, maritime and materials engineering. 3mE is the epitome of a dynamic, innovative faculty, with a European scope that contributes demonstrable economic and social benefits.

The Department of BioMechanical Engineering coordinates the Education and Research activities in the field of Mechanical Engineering techniques, like modelling and design, to analyse the interaction between biological and technical systems.

The Bio-Inspired Technology Group (BITE - has a great experience in the design of innovative (3D-printed) medical devices and prosthetics, drawing inspiration from extraordinary biological mechanisms, and cooperating with academic hospitals, biology groups, and companies.

Job description

The Bio-Inspired Technology Group of the Biomechanical Engineering Department of TU Delft ( is seeking a PhD candidate with a strong interest in performing cutting-edge research in the area of additive manufacturing of surgical instruments. The PhD position is part of the EU-project “Development and Streamlined integration of 3D printing technologies to enable advanced medical treatment of its widespread application” (3DMed). This cross-border project is carried out with seventeen academic and industrial partners in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and France and aims to improve the affordability and large-scale accessibility of medical treatment using 3D printed devices.

The possibilities of additive manufacturing are enormous, offering a near infinite flexibility in the design of complex mechanisms such as found in surgical instrumentation. Goal of this PhD-position is to explore the full potential of additive manufacturing for the mechanical design of complex surgical instruments. The research will have a focus on non-assembly 3D printing, in which all the components are 3D printed in one printing step so that the construction is already assembled when the 3D printing process is finished, requiring nu further assembly steps like with conventional manufacturing. Non-assembly 3D printing is a fascinating, still rather unexplored field of design in the world that offers great potential for an enormous cost reduction in the production of surgical instruments. However, it requires also a very creative way of designing resulting in new and innovative additive manufacturing design methodologies that divert from conventional designing. The PhD-position will cover this fundamental part, as well as the design process itself in which novel 3D-printed prototypes will be manufactured. The instruments will be designed for the fascinating surgical field of eye surgery in which complexity and fine-mechanical engineering plays a dominant role. There will be a very close collaboration with the medical company D.O.R.C. (Dutch Ophthalmic Research Center -, which is one of the global leaders in the field of instruments for eye surgery. As part of the PhD it is possible to spend a major part of the research (for example 2 days a week) at D.O.R.C. to combine the scientific work at Delft with the strong design and production expertise in a large medical company.


Applicants should have the following profile:

  • You have an MSc-degree or are about to obtain an MSc-degree in mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, industrial design or a related design discipline.

  • You are very creative and have a strong interest and experience in designing and 3D printing.

  • You are a good collaborator with people from other disciplines such as hospitals and companies.

  • You have an excellent command of English. Knowledge of, or willingness to, learn Dutch is an advantage.

Conditions of employment

TU Delft offers a customizable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Information and application

For more information about this position, please contact  Prof. Paul Breedveld, Head Bio-Inspired Technology Group, e-mail: p.breedveld@tudelft.

To apply, please submit:

  • a motivation letter,

  • a detailed CV,

  • a record of Bachelor and Master courses (including grades),

  • a link to your Master’s thesis (at least as a draft), and

  • the names and contact addresses of two references.

Applications should be submitted in one single pdf file to, referring to vacancy number 3mE18-74 in the subject of the email. Application deadline is January 1, 2019.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.


Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
University Graduate
Working hours
38.0 hours weekly
4 years
2266 - 2897 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Closing date
Jan. 2, 2019
Vacancy nr.


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