PhD Studentship: Big Data in Collaborative Design

University of Liverpool - School of Engineering

Supervisor/Enquiry contact: Professor Dirk Schaefer (

Funding: The studentship will be funded by EPSRC DTA covering tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for 3 years of your PhD and an annual stipend for 3 years of £14,553 per annum. To be eligible for this funding the candidate should be a UK citizen or an EU citizen that meets the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria. Non-UK/EU students may apply for this project if they have funding to support their studies.

Project Details:

  • BACKGROUND: Big Data is defined as term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, querying, updating, and information privacy. The term often refers simply to the use of predictive analytics, user behavior analytics, or certain other advanced data analytics methods that extract value from data, and seldom to a particular size of data set. Accuracy in big data may lead to more confident decision making, and better decisions can result in greater operational efficiency, cost reduction, and reduced risk.
  • AIM and SCOPE: As part of an ongoing Democratization of Innovation, more and more design activities are carried out online, both within proprietary professional company networks and open cloud-based design environments. Vast amounts of design-related data and ancillary information are created whenever and wherever design activities are carried out, especially in the early phases of ideation, concept generation, and decision-making. The purpose of this project is to investigate collaborative design processes and activities to understand how the vast amounts of digital data generated by design teams could be utilized to gain new insights into design thinking and the underlying cognitive processes, communication, and collaboration patterns that may foster or hinder innovation.
  • RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT: You will work within a vibrant and rapidly growing community of researchers in the Division’s focus area of Digital Innovation: Data-driven Design and Technology. In addition, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from our Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC), the leading UK centre for Virtual Engineering expertise, which delivers technology development, the latest research, training, and knowledge transfer around the application and adoption of advanced modelling, simulation, and 3D immersive visualisation in support of product design and manufacturing innovation.
  • REQUIRED SKILLS: We are seeking candidates with a minimum of 2:1 (or equivalent) first degree in Design, Engineering, Computer Science/IT, or a related subject. Experience in computational data processing is expected, as are strong communication and team working skills.
  • HOW TO APPLY: Please apply through the University of Liverpool’s online system ( with all documents required by the application system, please also include a covering letter for your application.

Closing date for applications: 15 April 2018.

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Northern England