PhD Studentships: Modelling and Simulation: Novel design methods and tools for novel aircraft configurations 

Cranfield University

Application Deadline: Open

Start Date: Cranfield campus, February 2017

Eligibility: UK, EU, or International

Duration of award: 3 years 

Supervisors: Professor Marin D. Guenov, Dr. Arturo Molina-Cristobal, Dr. Atif Riaz.

Sponsored by Cranfield University, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £14K p.a. (tax free) plus EU/UK fees for three years, subject to a satisfactory progress

The design of complex engineering systems such as those developed in the aerospace industry evolves over long periods of time. This allows OEMs to build and continuously validate sets of empirical methods for the conceptual design of the next product generation. In addition to the significant financial risks involved and the safety levels required, this practice has contributed to a rather conservative approach to innovation.

  • The first PhD will focus on systems architecting, in particular on methods and tools for rapid systems synthesis and analysis at pre-competitive and conceptual design stage. The aim is to develop an interactive tool enabling the system architect to navigate seamlessly through the requirements, functional, logical and physical views of the evolving architecture. Associated challenges include the orchestration of multilevel physics-based models into a consistent and interactive (human-centric) multidisciplinary computational system, through a component-driven modularisation of the constituent disciplines, for example, (aerodynamic) loads, weights, performance and so forth.
  • The second PhD will concentrate on Uncertainty, Risk and Robustness. The challenge here is the quantification and management of higher levels of uncertainty and risk. Unlike incremental developments, novel product architectures are subject to a multitude of uncertainties, ranging from the more “traditional” aleatory sources such as environmental and product data variability to epistemic uncertainty (associated with lack of knowledge) such as technology maturity and experts’ grasp of the problem.

Entry requirements:

The research work will be related to a flagship UK aeronautical project, led by two world renowned aircraft and engine manufacturers. The case studies used by our industrial collaborators for concept evaluation and validation are likely to include power plant integration. These may influence to an extent the selection of the successful PhD candidates who as a minimum should have an honours or equivalent degree from a reputable university in aeronautical or mechanical engineering, combined with good computing skills, the ability to work in a team and to deliver to a deadline. Good knowledge and experience in one or more of the following subjects is essential: air-vehicle design, multidisciplinary design and optimisation, airframe systems and structural analysis, geometry modelling, model-based systems engineering, probability and statistics, aspects of computer science such as algorithms, graph theory and object-oriented modelling. Good computing skills, ideally in C#, are essential. Knowledge of SysML, Matlab and Modelica would be advantageous.


The funding of the successful PhD candidates will cover the tuition fees for Home/EU students and an annual (tax free) maintenance allowance of £14000 p.a., for three years, subject to satisfactory progress. Outstanding overseas candidates with a relevant research track-record also will be considered.

How to apply:

For further information please contact: Prof. Marin D. Guenov:; Tel: 01234 754612, or Dr. Arturo Molina-Cristobal:

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form

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