Four-year EngD scholarship with the National Composites Centre: “Automated Deposition process development and optimization”

University of Bristol - Faculty of Engineering - National Composites Centre

Project Outline:

‘Automation’ has been recognised as a key enabler to deliver the increase in volumes and applications that composites are expected to see over the next few years. Automated Deposition technologies, including Automated Fibre Placement and Automated Tape Laying, have the potential to remove or minimise human intervention in the manufacturing of complex components, while still guaranteeing the level of quality demanded by the end-users. Such technologies have been at the core of the NCC capabilities since the Centre opened in 2011, and are currently being expanded to include a hybrid AFP/ATL machine and wide fabric, large scale layup facility. This will make the NCC quite simply the best equipped research centre for the automated manufacturing of advanced composites materials worldwide.

This EngD project aims at developing in-depth knowledge and understanding of such Automated Deposition processes, with the objective of implementing them across the wide range of machines being procured as well as transferring them across the full range of material types available (thermoset, thermoplastic, dry fibre).

The EngD candidate will be an integral part of multiple NCC project teams; this will provide the candidate with the unique opportunity to develop the NCC Automated Deposition capabilities to serve the complex needs of the NCC industrial customers. Possible areas of investigation include, but are not limited to, material process window definition, manufacturing process characterisation, process monitoring, preform characterisation, and Design for Manufacturing. The EngD project will require a significant amount of data acquisition and data analysis. While the project has an experimental focus, the EngD candidate will be expected to get involved in the definition and/or development of analytical and/or numerical models of the process to support the experimental activities.

While it is expected that the bulk of the work will be carried out at the NCC, the EngD candidate will be expected to identify opportunities for collaboration with academic institutions, research centres, and commercial organisation which can be beneficial to the successful delivery of the project. The exploitation of such collaboration will be highly encouraged.

Within the first 12 months, the EngD candidate is expected to:

  • Carry out a comprehensive critical literature review on the relevant topics (including internal references)
  • Acquire familiarity with the Automated Deposition systems available at the NCC, understanding the fundamentals, the potential, and the limitations of the technologies
  • Define the architecture of a Design for Manufacturing tool for Automated Deposition
  • Deliver one working manufacturing process definition tool or method

PLEASE NOTE: Applications are considered as soon as they are received, and the position will be allocated as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

How to apply: If you are interested in applying for this EngD project please send your CV, covering letter and academic transcript to

Candidate requirements: 


An upper second-class degree (or equivalent qualification) in an appropriate discipline.


Stipend: £20k p.a.
Standard EPSRC studentship eligibility criteria apply:


For further information about the IDC and the EngD programme please visit:
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South West England