PhD Studentship in Development of Innovation for Societal Challenges

University of Cambridge - Department of Engineering

A funded PhD Studentship is available at the Centre for Technology Management, Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge.

The project will attempt to identify how innovative solutions for challenges which affect society can be developed in Fab-spaces. i.e. environments where communities of individuals can access professional-grade manufacturing tools.

'Fab-spaces' encompass organisations which provide a suite of manufacturing tools and technologies openly accessible by the public. They are growing in number in many countries, taking a variety of forms and providing an assortment of different innovation/production tools. Many Fab-spaces are physical places, the most famous of which are known as Makerspaces, Hackerspaces, FabLabs and TechShops; however, Fab-spaces include also those which provide access to digital manufacturing technologies remotely via Internet platforms. Through Fab-spaces, ordinary people can become involved in the development of innovative solutions to approach societal challenges. For example, FabLabs recently launched a challenge "to make the city smarter and more collective" where young participants were challenged to set-up digital projects to identify "a solution, an application or a 3D object - to reinvent daily life in their city of the future".

Objectives of the project include:

To develop an overview of the different approaches for tackling societal problems enabled by fab-spaces

To increase the understanding of the dynamics underpinning innovation development for societal goals, and the role of physical and virtual infrastructure available through fab-spaces

To increase the understanding of how the configuration and governance of fab-spaces might affect the development of solutions for societal problems and how these can be sustained.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree (and preferably a Masters degree) in an engineering, sociology, management, geography or economics. Demonstrate a keen interest and some proficiency in studying innovation management.

This EPSRC funded studentship is available for Home and EU students. Home students and certain EU students will receive a full studentship including fees and Maintenance. EU students will receive a fees only award.  Details on eligibility can be found of EPSRC Web site:

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Dr Letizia Mortara ( )before submitting the application.

Applications should be made on-line via the Cambridge Graduate Admissions Office before the deadline: with Dr Mortara identified as the potential supervisor.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



South East England