PhD position in “Precision orthotics and rehabilitation medicine”

What you are going to do

The department of Rehabilitation medicine of the Amsterdam University Medical Center (location AMC), in collaboration with the Delft University of Technology, has a 2-year position for a motivated PhD Student on a project on the development of a new device to improve orthotic care within rehabilitation medicine. In many neuromuscular diseases, weakness of the calf muscles is a common symptom, leading to walking difficulties for which ankle-foot orthoses can be provided. To maximize the effect of the orthosis on walking outcomes, the stiffness needs to be individually optimized that is currently a lengthy and labor-intensive process. The aim of the project is to design a novel wearable ankle-foot orthosis of which the stiffness can be altered in real-time to allow time-efficient optimization procedures. The project is part of the Innovative Medical Devices Initiative (IMDI) call “Technology for Sustainable Healthcare: Demonstration projects” by ZonMw/NWO-TTW and the Stichting Life Sciences Health (LSH) – TKI, and consists of both the technical development of a stiffness adjustable ankle-foot orthosis into a minimal viable product (MVP) and clinical studies to validate the MVP in patients with neuromuscular diseases. You will be involved in the design of the MVP (performed at the Delft Technical University) as well as in the clinical studies consisting of 3D gait analysis and walking energy cost assessments. As a PhD Student in the AMC, you will have access to extensive training and development opportunities. We offer a challenging learning environment in a multidisciplinary team with clinical, technical and biomedical experience.

What we expect from you

We are looking for a talented and highly motivated PhD Student with:

  • A technical medical degree, biomedical engineering degree, or human movement sciences  with provable technical interest and ambition.
  • Affinity with technology and rehabilitation medicine, and motivated to set-up and perform clinical studies
  • Good programming skills and experience analyzing datasets in Matlab and/or R
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Good organizational skills
  • Effective team-player in a multi-disciplinary environment
  • Capable to work thoroughly and independently with a good share of enthusiasm
  • Previous research experience and experience with patients is an advantage

Where you are going to work

You will be contracted by AMC Medical Research BV (AMR) and work in a team based at the department of Rehabilitation medicine at the Amsterdam UMC (location AMC), but also partly at the Delft University of Technology to design the MVP. Working at both institutes, provides a unique opportunity to develop both your clinical and technical skills. Daily supervision will be done by dr. Merel Brehm, principle investigator, and dr. Niels Waterval, post-doc researcher within the AMC, in close collaboration with prof. dr. Frans Nollet, professor in rehabilitation medicine within the AMC and prof. dr. Jaap Harlaar, professor clinical biomechatronics at the Delft University of Technology.  The department of rehabilitation medicine is host of the polio and orthotic expertise center providing world-class treatment and research. You will work together in an enthusiastic team, consisting of clinicians, technicians and (PhD)-researchers all working to improve rehabilitation and orthotic care for patients with neuromuscular diseases. You will be able to attend courses and present at international conferences to develop your (scientific) competences.

Want to know more about working at AMR? Take a look at our website

What we offer you

We offer you ample opportunity for development, deepening and broadening, additional training and a place to grow! Working at AMR means working in an inspiring and professional environment where development is encouraged in every respect.

  • A PhD Student is placed in scale 21, with a fulltime gross salary that ranges from € 2.495,- in the first year to € 3.196,- in the fourth year (The contract hours will be 36 hours per week (1fte).
  • The base salary does not include holiday pay (8%) and a year-end bonus (8.3%).
  • We offer a contract for 2 years, with the prospect of extending the contract for another 2 years to a full PhD project upon purchase of additional funding and good performance.
  • In addition to excellent accessibility by public transport, AMC also has a sufficient number of parking spaces for employees.
  • Pension is accrued at Be Frank.

For an overview of all our other terms of employment, see

Amsterdam UMC has an open culture. Together we continuously build an environment where everyone feels welcome. To achieve that, we strive to provide equal opportunities for everyone. We therefore cordially invite all interested parties to respond to this vacancy.

Let’s meet

If you would like to apply directly, please use the ‘apply’ button on this page.
If you would like more information, please feel free to contact dr. Merel Brehm (Principal Investigator), via or dr. Niels Waterval (Postdoc researcher), via

We look forward to meeting you!