Insigneo Student Placement Programme – 2017

image-1_519e2f1dcdf27The Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine is one of the largest research institutes in the world entirely focused on “in silico medicine”, the use of subject-specific computer models to predict quantities that are difficult or impossible to be measured directly, and that are useful to guide the clinical decision on diagnosis, severity of the diseases, and appropriateness of the treatment.

There is a small but growing jobs market in biomedical companies and in the broader “Body industry” sector (all products that interact with the human body, such as sports apparel, lawenforcement vests, workplace ergonomics, vehicle safety, etc.) for engineers with good hands-on skills with in silico medicine technologies, which are used in the design and assessment of these products. The same profile is also requested by the many start-ups that emerged in the last five years in UK and abroad in the area of in silico medicine services. Last, but not least, large research hospitals in the NHS and other top-class healthcare providers in the world are starting to recruit engineers with this skill-set, as the first in silico medicine technologies enter the clinical practice.

Currently, this represents a niche opportunity, as there are very few institutes like Insigneo in the world, but we expect this employment market to grow double-figures in the next 5-10 years. Insigneo is developing a graduate teaching offer: we started with the MEng in Mechanical Engineering with Biomechanics that enrolled its first students in 2016/2017, which will be followed by a more general MSc in Computational Biomedicine, due to kick-off in the 2017/2018 academic
year. In the parallel, we decided to offer to some of the best undergraduate students of the University of Sheffield a Placement Programme as research assistants in our institute, to give a “taster” in what in silico medicine is.

Placement Programme

This year the Insigneo Student Placement Programme is open to all students of the University of Sheffield enrolled in the 2nd or 3rd year or an undergraduate programme, who have not already participated in our Placement Programme in previous years. While no undergraduate programme is excluded, preference will be given to students in faculties of Engineering, Science, and Medicine, Dentistry and Health.

Applicants must be available two days in the first week of placement, one day per week in the remaining weeks until the end of the term, and full time during the summer break. The selected students will start as soon as possible with an introductory week, during which they are expected to work 14 hours, in which they will be trained to use one or more specific software tools required to fulfil the data processing/modelling task assigned.

In the following weeks, until the end of the teaching term, they will work one day per week to process data necessary for our research projects. After the end of the term, we would expect them to work up to 35 hours per week, for a total of 443 hours for the overall placement.

Each student will be assigned to a supervisor – either a PhD student or a post-doctoral research associate – who is conducting the research project that requires the data processing/modelling task. Depending on where the supervisor and/or instrumentation essential to the project are located, the student will sit during the working hours in one of the sites of the Insigneo institute:

  • Pam Liversidge Building, Faculty of Engineering
  • O Floor, Royal Hallamshire Hospital
  • Polaris Building, Claremont Crescent

The student will be allowed to work only when the supervisor is present and total flexibility will be left to the student and the supervisor to agree on the working hours/days within the standard working hours/days of the site.

On May 11th 2017, we will hold our annual Insigneo Showcase at the Octagon Centre. All staff members of Insigneo, including the placement students, are expected to contribute to the organisation and the management of this large event. The selected students must attend a meeting organised by Karen El-Arifi, where specific roles and duties will be assigned. Then, on the day of the event they are expected to be available for the whole day, unless they are required to attend mandatory lectures that may be scheduled for that day.


Students completing the 443 hours of Placement Programme will receive a bursary of £2,300, to be paid 70% at the start of the placement, and 30% at the end. We expect the students to complete the placement programme; however, if for whatever reason this is not possible, students completing their placement with less working hours will be paid pro quota, proportionally to the amount of hours actually worked.


An application letter, no longer than two pages, should be submitted to Gwendolen Reilly at no later than 12th February, 2017. The application should include:

  • Full name
  • Registration number
  • University email
  • A brief curriculum
  • The list of all exams passed with the relative mark
  • A motivation statement

We expect the selection to be highly competitive; students will be selected on the basis of their marks, their motivational statement, and any specific experience they may have already had with computer aided engineering tools such as finite element analysis programs, multibody dynamics programs, image processing programs, etc.

The anticipated start date is week beginning 24th April 2017.

For any queries please contact Lesley Statham on 0114 222 0162 or email


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