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Research Associate in Digital Capture and Twinning of Physical Prototypes

University of Bristol - School of Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Location: Bristol
Salary: £33,199 to £37,345
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 23rd August 2019
Closes: 30th September 2019
Job Ref: ACAD104182

Please note we are also recruiting for another position ACAD104183.

You will join a large, diverse and dynamic research group in one of the UK’s top engineering faculties. In addition to being part of the Design and Manufacturing Futures Laboratory ( you will fulfil a key role in a large interdisciplinary research team working on a four-year EPSRC-funded project. 

The project, Prototwinning, is concerned with the creation of tools and methods to enable seamless integration between the digital and physical domains in engineering prototyping and design. The research challenges include: twinning of prototypes; development of tools, technologies, and prototyping platforms; integrated revision control and automatic learning, and data-driven design. The project has been running for 9 months and with the addition of the two Post-Doctoral Research Associates being advertised there will be a team of 4 PDRAs and 4 PhDs on the project. 

Current workstreams include:

  • Digital / physical prototyping hardware and advanced prototype technologies.
  • Digital / physical model twinning, including rapid digitisation and automatic manufacturing / prototype modification.
  • Technologies and processes that enable seamless workflow using augmented and virtual realities.
  • Data-driven design and artificial intelligence in prototyping, and how learning and designs can be integrated into workflow and physical prototypes 

You will work closely with members of the project team leading a focused programme of research and supporting related areas of work. Your research focus will be mainly concerned with researching and implementing methods for digitisation of physical prototypes and prototype modifications, in order to automatically update/generate digital models. Specifically, this will include:

  • Technologies for digitisation of physical prototypes, and integration / manipulation of digital models within the ProtoTwinning platform. This will include prototypes of different forms (i.e. cardboard, AM, foam).
  • Creation of digitally-enabled (“Smart”) prototyping technologies, that automatically digitise and update virtual models within the prototyping process.
  • Strategies for capture and analysis of prototype geometry, function, behaviour, and physical properties. This will extend to capture of changes to each and methods for automated or semi-automated update of previous digital models. 

This post is offered on a full time for two years. It is anticipated that interviews will take place shortly after the closing date.  

Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Ben Hicks ( or Dr Chris Snider (

We welcome applications from all members of our community and are particularly encouraging those from diverse groups, such as members of the LGBT+ and BAME communities, to join us.

The University of Bristol is committed to equality and we value the diversity of our staff and students.

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