Principal Investigator

Dr. Lin Cao

Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Medical Robotics

Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

The University of Sheffield, UK

Google Scholar


Homepage at the University of Sheffield

Other memberships:

Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH)

Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine



Office Tel.: +441142225552

Office: Room D08, Amy Johnson Building, Portobello St., Sheffield, S1 3JD

Lab: Room G27, Kroto Research Institute, Red Hill, Sheffield S3 7HQ

Interested in a meeting or discussion? Please feel free to drop me an email and then a meeting invite in my google calendar.

Group Members

Tianchen Ji, ACSE, the University of Sheffield (PhD student)

Hasanshahi, Behzad (Co-supervised PhD student with Sanjia)

Jiayang Du, (Co-supervised PhD student with Sanjia)

Isabella Szczech, Bioengineering, the University of Sheffield (FYP student)

Raffaello Rotolo, ACSE, the University of Sheffield (FYP student)

Xinyi Pi, ACSE, ACSE, the University of Sheffield (MSc student)

Wensen Wang, ACSE, the University of Sheffield (MSc student)

Zelin Wang, ACSE, the University of Sheffield (MSc student)


We are currently recruiting Ph.D. students, master's students, undergraduate interns, and visiting scholars who are interested in conducting cutting-edge research in surgical robots and flexible/soft robots. We are interested in applicants with backgrounds in mechanical design, mechatronics, robotics, mechanics, programming, control, biomedical engineering, or soft materials. Students with strong hands-on skills are very welcome. Prospective students or visiting scholars please drop an email to Dr. Lin Cao with your CV and a cover letter.

Scholarships are available for both domestic (UK) and international Ph.D. students. Please follow the links below for details, e.g., application deadlines, requirements, and how to apply:

  • A general list of postgraduate scholarships - link

  • A list of postgraduate scholarships with nationality eligibility info - link

  • Lists of scholarships particularly for Ph.D. students - link

  • Joint China Scholarship Council – University of Sheffield PhD scholarship - link

  • Singapore A*STAR Research Attachment Programme - link (the student to spend one to two years at A*STAR in Singapore and the remaining in the University of Sheffield. No requirement on nationality)

  • Many charities, foundations, and trusts provide funding for postgraduate study, from small grants to full scholarships. Some are for specific subject areas while others have more general eligibility criteria - see our list of other funding bodies. Some are highlighted below:

    • Commonwealth PhD scholarships. Scholarships for candidates from least developed countries and fragile states in the Commonwealth, for full-time doctoral study at a UK university.

    • CONACYT Scholarships. Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) offers scholarships to Mexican students wishing to study an engineering postgraduate degree (both taught and research) in the UK.

    • James Pantyfedwen Foundation.Grants towards tuition fees of up to £7,000 for postgraduate (taught and research) students from Wales. Terms and conditions apply.

    • Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online. This guide is all about alternative sources of funding - especially charities - which can make awards to any student regardless of subject, or nationality. Simply click 'login' if you are on campus or register using your student email address (ends in If you are a prospective student please email to obtain a Pin number. You can also obtain the password from

Submit Your Formal Application for Ph.D. Study

The first step would be to put in an application, details on how to apply are below.

How to Apply

Full guidance about how to apply can be found via this link, including guidance about what the Department is looking for in a research proposal.

We advise you to attach your supporting documents when you are completing the on-line application form. Supporting documents (eg references, research proposal, transcripts, certificates, CVs, details of all previous degrees taken, etc) may be uploaded at a later date, but please note that your application will not be processed until they are received. If you experience problems uploading them onto your application form please contact the Research Support Officer directly via:

Minimum Entrance Requirements

We generally require:

  • Applicants to have a minimum undergraduate Honours degree (UK 2:1 or better) or MSc (Merit or Distinction) in a relevant Science or Engineering subject from a reputable institution.

  • Candidates must upload details of ALL previous University qualifications into their application

  • Guidance is available for overseas candidates about equivalent qualifications provided by the University International Office.

  • Applicants with other qualifications or experience should contact the Department’s Research Support Officer so that we can check on your eligibility.

  • An approved English Language qualification such as a minimum score of 6.5 (with 6 in each component) in the IELTS examination.

  • Evidence of your potential to carry out a research study successfully. This may come from any of the following:

    • Excellent marks in a substantial research project/dissertation undertaken as part of your undergraduate or masters course

    • Academic references which clearly demonstrate your strengths as an independent research

    • Authorship of academic papers in internationally recognised journals or conferences

Please note that meeting the minimum requirements for admissions does not guarantee that you will be offered a place for study. There are several other factors that the Department has to take into account such as:

  • Whether a supervisor with relevant expertise and supervisory capacity is available

  • Whether the necessary infrastructure (eg lab space and support) is available

  • Whether the proposed work fits in with the supervisor’s and the Department’s strategic research objectives.

Start Dates

The Department offers an enhanced induction programme for its new PhD students and we therefore strongly encourage candidates to begin at the start of each semester (either late September or early February). This will enable you to share experiences and provide mutual support as a group.

Forthcoming entry dates are:

  • 07 February 2022

  • 26 September 2022

If these fixed dates are not convenient to you, an alternative starting date is possible although this will require the approval of our PhD Admissions Tutor.

Useful Additional Links for Further Information:





About University of Sheffield and ACSE

The University of Sheffield, rated 75th globally in the 2019 QS World University Rankings, is a member of the leading Russell Group research universities in the UK.

The Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE) has an international reputation for its research excellence. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) outcome placed it 3rd in the UK overall and 1st in research outputs in the General Engineering, ranking 98.5% of its research outputs as being world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2018, the University was voted top five nationally for providing the best overall student experience, with our Students' Union voted best in the UK for the tenth year in a row.

© 2021 by LIN CAO