Medical Robotics and Image Guided Intervention

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 12.3 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 37.8 k / Year(s)  
11 place StudyQA ranking:5297 Duration:1 year

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This is a multidisciplinary field and is led by three internationally known departments: the Hamlyn Centre for Medical Robotics (part of the Institute of Global Health Innovation), the Department of Surgery and Cancer and the Department of Computing. Taught modules include a mixture of engineering and medical topics such as medical robotics and instrumentation, minimally invasive surgery, surgical imaging and optics, image guided intervention, perception and ergonomics. 

The intention of the course is to provide postgraduate students from engineering, physical or life sciences undergraduate programmes with an advanced academic and laboratory training in medical robotics and image guided intervention, with a strong emphasis on current engineering and medical research topics.  The course is designed to allow you to learn new skills and explore this interdisciplinary research area in a supportive environment as well as undertake a cutting edge research project.

The course will enhance your engineering and technology knowledge and skills and you will be able to contribute to the development of less invasive and less harmful surgery.

Year One:
Term one: All formal lectures will take place during week 2-7 inclusive of the first term and will provide an interdisciplinary foundation for the research in subsequent projects. The material is divided into five modules, and each module will consist of 16 lectures lasting 50 minutes each plus 8 hours of tutorial/classwork, taught by two or three instructors (each including at least one member of academic staff responsible for the content). The syllabus for the lectures and an illustrative timetable for weeks 2-7 have been included below. Staff will attend the Educational Development Unit SLTP and PCLT courses where appropriate, or the shorter courses in supervising research students, starting teaching for postdocs’, communicating knowledge’ and assisting with PhD supervision. As well as the lectures, the students will work on a group research project that will be full time after week seven. This will provide research skills for the main research project in terms two and three, etc. The main project will be assessed by a group oral presentation and Q&A lasting for 30 minutes for each group at the beginning of week 11. Groups will agree a leader and a secretary will keep a log of activity and detail the technical work. The first task will be to produce a detailed design specification for the work which will be used to evaluate the project against in the assessment. Example projects include ‘building an eyetracker’, ‘building a stereoscopic AR console’, ‘design and construction of a tendon driven actuator for surgery’. 
Module 1: Medical robotics and instrumentation This module will provide an introduction to the mechanical principles and design of robots. It will also provide an overview of the key technologies and techniques used in robotic surgery. Module 2: Minimally invasive surgery 
This module will provide an introductory level course in the key surgical disciplines at a level that is accessible to engineering and physical sciences masters’ level students. Module 3: Surgical imaging and optics Medical imaging is providing an increasingly important role in surgical navigation and medical robotics. The principles behind the imaging methods are relatively complex and this course will provide an overview of the different methods in common use. Most surgical imaging is carried out using light, and the use of optical technology in endoscopy will also be described. Module 4: Image guided intervention This module will provide an introduction to image-guided intervention. It will run in parallel to the medical imaging module and will outline the common image processing and analysis methods Module 5: Sensing, Perception and Neuroergonomics An introduction to sensing, perception, navigation, surgical planning, visualisation, simulation and ergonomics. Term Two and Three: The main research project will begin at the start of term two and continue to the end of the programme. Students will be given a choice of projects set by members of academic staff (Daniel Elson, Guang-Zhong Yang, Ara Darzi, Fernando Bello, Mikael Sodergren, Daniel Leff, Su-Lin Lee, Benny Lo and any other staff working in an appropriate research area). They will then rank multiple projects from the list and projects will be allocated to optimise the choice of the student group as a whole. The first few months will involve a literature review, which will lead directly to the extended project. It will be possible to change projects after the literature review if particular problems have been identified with a specific student-project pairing during that time. To provide support for students and to provide a control in identifying any problems, project log-books will be inspected during biweekly meetings with academic supervisor, and formal intermediate progress reviews will be carried out for all projects (one in March for detailed project specification and research plan, another one in June for detailed progress assessment). Example projects are:  Integration of AR toolkit with a system for video tracked recording at frame accuracy  GPGPU High Speed Tissue Reconstruction  Soft-tissue Albedo Estimation from Multiple In Vivo Images Surgical Dynamics Classification Optical Monitoring of Instrument Tissue Interaction  Eyetracking in surgery for skills assessment  Robotic or handheld surgical tool design for specific or general surgery (e.g. cardiac surgery)  Design of some software/hardware component linking to the eye tracker for a specific task (e.g. controlling a tool, controlling a computer vision algorithm etc)  Review of existing and investigation or implementation of alternative/new eye tracking approaches and techniques  Mechatronics projects are more than welcome Students will be permitted to undertake projects outside of College, in which case two supervisors will be assigned (one at Imperial and one in the host institution, with the Imperial academic acting as the first supervisor and marker). Detailed instructions will be provided to the host to ensure that the requirements of the MRes are met, and in particular, the following controls will be put in place:  the lead supervisor will be an academic staff of the Hamlyn Centre and take overall responsibility of project supervision;  the majority (60%) of the project will be carried out within the facilities of the Hamlyn Centre;  the industrial partner will contribute towards travel costs for field research/validation on company site; 
while on the company site, bi-weekly online meetings for project update will be held. To complement the project the students will also be able to continue their interdisciplinary education by  using the clinical skills lab to get some practical experience in using surgical instruments and surgical simulators (may form part of MIS in term 1)  attending sessions on professional skills as well as short sessions on other important aspects of academic, industrial and clinical research (presentation skills, patient confidentiality, research governance, writing skills, how to write a grant proposal, safety issues, information search and retrieval strategies and intellectual property etc.) 

The minimum qualification for admission is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree in a Science- or Engineering-based subject from an UK academic institution or a Master’s level degree in a similar subject or an equivalent overseas qualification. Occasionally a well qualified student may be admitted with a life sciences or medical degree, subject to demonstration of quantitative/analytical aptitude. Applicants encouraged to visit South Kensington and St Mary’s Hospital for a site tour and interview. Offers made to students are initiated by the Course Director or the Course Organiser. Where an applicant has a lesser degree qualification but has at least three years relevant work experience, a special case for admission may be submitted to the Graduate School and Medicine by the Course Director. All applicants must satisfy the College’s English proficiency requirement. 

Dean's Master's Scholarships

Home/EU Students

  • Full tuition fees and a stipend of £17,000

  • 5 places are available

Overseas Students

  • Full tuition fees and a stipend of £17,000

  • 4 places are available

Stipends will be paid in monthly instalments, subject to satisfactory progression. Awardees on courses which last more than a year will have their £17,000 stipend spread over the full lengh of the degree. 

The Faculty offers a wide range of Master's degree courses, as well as PG Certificates and Diplomas, and all students will belong to the Graduate School, which provides a comprehensive Transferable Skills Programme. 

 For any queries not covered here, please email James Osborne (PGT Administrator, Faculty of Medicine) at

Please note that there may be other scholarships offered by Schools, Institutes and Departments that make up the Faculty of Medicine. These are separate from the Dean's and Faculty Master's Scholarships described here and entail a different application process. 


General Eligibility

These awards are open to all students who have made an application to the Faculty of Medicine by 30 April 2015 for admission to study for a full time or part time Master's course* at Imperial College London, starting in October 2015 (*or PG Cert for a course where that is the only route to the higher degree).

Please note that these awards can only be given to students who are studying a course run by the Faculty of Medicine. For a full list of these courses, please see our Master's Degree page. 

It is not essential for applicants to have already received an offer of a place on a course, but the initial course application must be made before applying for a scholarship.

Residence Eligibility

Applications are accepted from talented candidates from Imperial College London, the UK and worldwide. There are no restrictions on nationality.

Academic Eligibility

  • Candidates are expected to be able to provide evidence of outstanding academic ability. This will usually mean being among the highest achievers in their undergraduate cohort and in receipt of, or due to receive, a first class UK Honours degree or equivalent.

  • An applicant who does not meet this requirement (e.g. holds a second class undergraduate degree, is a health professional who did not undertake a degree course, or is from a non-traditional background*), will be considered if they are able to demonstrate that they have outstanding academic potential and substantial experience relevant to their chosen subject area. This should be included in the Personal Statement section of the application form. (*Those applicants without a degree will be required, where available, to pass a Special Qualifying Examination to gain entry to the chosen course).

  • Candidates with degrees from overseas institutions are strongly urged to determine if their scores/grades are equivalent to the relevant eligibility criteria.

  • Candidates who already have a postgraduate qualification should justify their request to have an additional postgraduate course funded by the faculty. This should be included in the Personal Statement section of the application form.

  • Candidates who wish to apply for a Master's course which starts as a PG Cert or PG Dip will only be considered if they are committed to completing the course to Master's level.

  • Scholarships awarded based on predicted grades will be conditional upon final results.

How to Apply
In order to be considered for the Dean's Master's Scholarships, potential candidates will need to have first applied for a place on a Master's course in the Faculty of Medicine. It is not essential to wait for an offer of a place to be made, but the initial course application must be made before submitting a scholarship application. To apply for a Master's course, please use our online admission system. 

Once the application for the course has been submitted, those who wish to apply for a scholarship should complete our online form (Note: the Scholarship award panel will assess candidates on their scholarship application form NOT their course application, so make sure all key information is included in your scholarship application). The form will need to be completed in a single session, so please have the following information prepared:

  • Personal statement (not more than 1000 words).
  • Details of qualifications, achievements, awards, relevant experience and publications.
  • The title/s of the course/s which you have applied for.

Shortlisting will take place in May 2015. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interviews which are currently scheduled for the week commencing Monday 8 June 2015. All interviews will take place via Skype between 9.00 and 17.00 BST. The scholarship application form includes a question regarding your country of residence in June 2015. We will use this information to identify your time zone and try to tailor your interview time accordingly, although we cannot guarantee that the slot allocated to you will be convenient for your time zone. 

All candidates will be informed of the decision by the end of June 2015.


We will use the references that you provide as part of your course application process. Please do not send references to us directly as we will be unable to accept them. It is not essential that we receive your references in time to consider your scholarship application, although their absence may weaken your application. It is therefore recommended that you contact your referees directly to ask that they respond to your course application reference request before Friday 8 May 2015 (one week after scholarship applications close).

Terms and conditions

When applying for Faculty of Medicine Master's Degree Scholarships, candidates must agree to Imperial's terms and conditions regarding scholarships and bursaries. 

Please note, the following conditions override the standard Imperial terms and conditions:

  • Both part time and full time students are eligible to apply.

  • An offer of a place is not required before applying, but candidates must first apply for a Master's course run by the Faculty of Medicine before applying for a scholarship.

  • Candidates who do not apply through the online form will not be considered for the Dean's Master's Scholarships.

  • Successful applicants who receive a Dean's Master's Scholarship will not be allowed to accept any other form of scholarship or bursary provided by Imperial College London for study during the 2015/16 academic year.

  • Scholarship stipends will be paid in monthly instalments over the length of the course, subject to satisfactory progress. Students on courses which are part time or start as a PG Cert will have their stipend paid in equal monthly instalments over the full length of the course.

  • Awardees will be required to participate in a small number of promotional activities during the course of their studies and allow their image to be used by Imperial for publicity purposes. Such activities may include (but are not limited to) attending special events and producing occassional print or web copy.

​Deadline for applications is Midnight 30 April 2015

Applicants will be given a decision by 30 June 2015.

Applications are invited from outstanding candidates from Imperial College London, the UK and worldwide who have the potential to become leaders in their field. 

Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas are not available on this programme.

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