PhD Studentship: Data-Driven Design and Manufacture

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: Cloud-Based Design and Manufacturing (CBDM) is a service-oriented networked product development model in which service consumers are enabled to configure, select, and utilize customized product realization services ranging from computer-aided engineering software to reconfigurable manufacturing systems. CBDM fits into the broader realm of Industry 4.0, the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution concerned with developing cyber-physical systems for production engineering and the smart factories of the future.
  • AIM and SCOPE: To date, Cloud-Based Design and Manufacturing has been tested mainly for digital design and fabrication processes including the usual steps of designing an artefact with a CAD system to then have a prototype manufactured with a “suitable” 3D printer. Unfortunately, a common mishap that can often be observed is that artefacts that look perfectly fine on the CAD system come out severely misshaped on the 3D printer. A first aspect of this project is to further investigate and document this phenomenon and its root cause. The overarching aim of the project is to develop a smart computer-based assistant that helps to facilitate a successful Design-to-Additive Manufacture process. Such an assistant might be running in the background of next-generation CAD systems and pop up to prompt a designer to either modify identified critical areas of a design so that it can be manufactured with a specific 3D printer, or alternatively propose another type of printer available through a cloud-based network that may have the technical capabilities to accommodate the design in its initial form.
  • 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, Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering, or a related subject. Experience in CAD and 3D-Printing 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.


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Northern England