UCL EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Integrated Imaging in Healthcare


NOW CLOSED - Quantitative X-ray Phase-Contrast Imaging

4-year PhD studentship funded by The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the i4health CDT and Nikon X-Tek Systems LTD - Deadline 6th January 2023


20 December 2022

Primary Supervisor: Professor Marco Endrizzi (UCL)

Secondary Supervisor: Wenjuan Sun (NPL) , David Bate (Nikon X-Tek Systems LTD)

A 4 year funded PhD studentship is available in a partnership between the UCL Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, the Dimensional Metrology Group at the National Physical Laboratory NPL and Nikon X-Tek System Ltd.

Successful applicants will be awarded a stipend of £ 19,668 (tax free stipend) in line with all the other i4Health CDT applicants as well as fully funded fees at the UK level and a generous Research Training Grant for conference expenses.

 The successful candidate will join the UCL CDT in Intelligent, Integrated Imaging in Healthcare (i4health) cohort and benefit from the activities and events organised by the centre. They will also have access to AXIm laboratory facilities, including customizable optical benches and commercial X-ray CT (XCT) scanners. They will also be supported and trained by NPL experts, with access to the XCT facility and metrology equipment. They will also gain access to professional development opportunities, training and support offered through the Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science (PGI).


X-rays are unique for investigating bulky and opaque samples, as their broad use in medicine, security and non-destructive inspection demonstrates. X-ray phase contrast imaging (XPCI) complements the capabilities of conventional radiography, especially for low-absorbing samples. Biological soft matter does not absorb X-rays with high probability, but the capability of detecting phase distortions in the X-ray wavefront enables visualising details that would be otherwise X-ray-invisible. The Advanced X-ray Imaging Group (AXIm) has pioneered the development of compact XPCI systems, and a partnership with Nikon has built a first prototype, field deployed for intraoperative imaging of breast tissue. The image quality was vastly superior to the current standards, however the interpretation of images remained largely qualitative and highly subject-dependent. Calibration and uncertainty evaluation are fundamental elements of instrument traceability and NPL is leading the development of X-ray CT for dimensional metrology. The creation of a metrology framework for XPCI micro-CT applied in the medical field would be a step change in the efforts to transform three-dimensional images into absolute measurements, where the instrument's bias, precision, and accuracy are known and characterised.

Research Aims

The successful candidate will develop new techniques, with unique sensitivity for soft-tissues and other low-Z, with a quantitative and traceable methodology. These new approaches will provide a transformative pathway for XCT across applications, encompassing three-dimensional imaging of tissue, design, manufacturing and pre-clinical small-animal investigations.

Candidates must have:

  • A degree a subject area such as Physics, Medical Physics, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Physics, Biomedical Engineering (concentration in imaging or medical devices), or a related field. 
  • Interest in developing hands-on experimental skills and working in a multidisciplinary laboratory is essential. 
  • A degree of familiarity with image processing and computer programming is desirable.

Application Deadline – 6th January 2023

How to Apply:

Please complete the following steps to apply.

  • Send an expression of interest and current CV to Dr Marco Endrizzi and cdtadmin@ucl.ac.uk. Please use the subject title: Project Code 23008
  • Make a formal application to via the UCL application portal  . Select the programme code MPhil Medical Imaging RRDMEISING01 and enter Quantitative X-ray phase-contrast imaging 23008 under ‘Name of Award 1’.

This studentship is strictly for those who pay Home fees. We cannot consider overseas students.

Application Process:

  • After the deadline, all applicants that specified Project 23008 and with a Portico application will be considered for interview.
  • Candidates will normally be invited for interview within two-weeks of the deadline. If you have not been contacted within this time-period, you have unfortunately not been successful in being shortlisted.
  • The interview panel will normally consist of the supervision team on the project and the CDT Director.
  • The interview will normally consist of a short presentation (5-10mins) by the candidate followed by questions from a panel.
  • The successful candidate will be informed by email and given a week to confirm whether they wish to accept the PhD place and funding.
  • Note that applications without specifying the project they are applying for and/or making a formal Portico application will be automatically rejected.
  • Once accepted, a formal UCL offer of admission will be sent to the applicant as well as an offer of studentship funding.