Back to search results

PhD Studentship - Maximising the Throughput of Production and Assembly Lines using Symbiotic Simulation Optimisation

University of Southampton

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 14th May 2019
Closes: 30th June 2019

Supervisory team: Dr. Christine Currie, Dr. Stephan Onggo and Dr. Thomas Monks

Funding: fully funded PhD project for UK/EU students; partial funding for international students.

A fully funded PhD position is available within the Centre for Operational Research, Management Science and Information Systems (CORMSIS) at the University of Southampton, UK. CORMSIS is one of the largest groups of OR/MS researchers in Europe and spans Mathematical Sciences and Southampton Business School. Ranked in the top 50 in the QS Rankings for Statistics and OR worldwide*, the University Of Southampton has significant expertise in simulation and optimization, both key components of this project.

We are seeking a candidate who has an aptitude for computer simulation and optimization with strong mathematical and statistical skills and an interest in applying their research to a practical problem. Excellent communication skills are essential.

Working with Ford motor company’s Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering department, this PhD project aims to realise the full benefits of Industry 4.0 on increasing manufacturing throughput through developing novel optimization via simulation techniques that work with symbiotic simulations. We define a symbiotic simulation as one that runs alongside and interacts with the real system. In Industry 4.0, such a simulation is referred to as a digital twin. The objective is to help decision makers make complex operational decisions which often require them to come up with an optimal solution within a tight time window. Hence, the experimentation or optimisation must produce solutions very quickly, keeping in mind the dynamic of the real system.

The methods developed in the PhD project will be incorporated into simulations of production and assembly lines across the world, helping to deliver improved annual throughputs. This will allow us to evaluate our new methods in a real-world setting. It also gives the PhD student excellent experience of working at the cutting edge of both practical and academic simulation.

Symbiotic simulation is a novel area, with scope for exciting, high-impact research. In symbiotic simulation, the simulation model automatically draws data from the real system, enabling accurate forecasting of future behaviour and testing of different options for the system set up (Xu et al. 2016). With efficient optimisation methods, suggested changes to the system can rapidly be fed back to decision-makers.

Particularly relevant skills include a background in mathematical optimization, computer simulation, mathematical statistics, algorithms and computer programming. Candidates should have at least an undergraduate degree, but preferably a masters’ degree in operational research, mathematics, engineering, statistics, computer science or a relevant discipline.

* QS Rankings 2019 (


Xu, J. et al. (2016) “Simulation optimization in the era of Industrial 4.0 and the Industrial Internet”. J.Sim., 10, pp 310-320 (

Applications should be submitted through the university website … Informal enquiries can be made by contacting Dr. Christine Currie (

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:

Subject Area(s):


PhD tools
More PhDs from University of Southampton

Show all PhDs for this organisation …

More PhDs like this
Join in and follow us

Browser Upgrade Recommended has been optimised for the latest browsers.

For the best user experience, we recommend viewing on one of the following:

Google Chrome Firefox Microsoft Edge