EPSRC DTP PhD studentship: Modelling for Circular Economy

University of Exeter - University of Exeter Business School

Main Supervisor: Dr Nav Mustafee (University of Exeter)

Co-supervisor:  Prof. Mickey Howard (University of Exeter)

Co-supervisor:  Prof. Steffen Boehm (University of Exeter)

Computer modelling and simulation (M&S) is a tool for decision making. It allows researchers to build computer models of real or proposed systems of interest, and to experiment with scenarios. The quantitative technique of systems’ analysis helps stakeholders to take better and more informed decisions and to ‘experiment’ prior to ‘implementation’. Several M&S techniques exist, for example, agent-based simulation, Monte Carlo, system dynamics; in this research we focus on a technique for detailed-level modelling, namely discrete-event simulation (DES). DES has traditionally focussed on productivity and efficiency-related KPIs in its analysis of outcome. However, with issues around sustainability and the circular economy (CE) becoming increasingly important for business, it is arguable that the existing KPIs must also include metrics that are specific to the Triple-Bottom-Line. It is no longer acceptable for firms simply to ‘do less harm’ in terms of environmental pollution and resource wastage, but to consider new ways of designing out waste and locking in value by examining all phases from product design to the operational process as part of circular thinking. In order to identify key metrics for the CE, we will adopt qualitative value-stream mapping techniques, based on facilitated workshops conducted on-site with our partner SME (The Ministry of Cake; http://www.ministryofcake.co.uk/).

Working with our project partner, various DES models of the system will then be developed. Site visits will be required for observing the real-life systems that are to be modelled and for collecting relevant data (e.g., number of machines in the production line and the time taken to process, resources used).

The student will investigate both qualitative and quantitative modelling methodologies (e.g., value stream mapping, conceptual and computer modelling) towards making an original and novel contribution in CE implementation methods in a real life setting. Further, the student will use computer modelling and simulation to experiment with new CE modelling scenarios and business models for the benefit of the small-medium sized enterprise. By participating in the above activities with the supervisory team, the student’s role will be both as research assistant and investigator in his/her own right, with the objective of publishing in peer review journals from the doctoral thesis.

Funding Minimum
3.5 year studentship: UK/EU tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at current Research Council rate. Current rate of £14,296 per year.

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South West England