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PhD Studentship - Rapid Hybrid Manufacture of Prototypes and Digital to Physical Synchronisation in Product Design

University of Bristol - Mechanical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bristol
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Tax free stipend of £15,009 pa for 2019/20 subject to confirmation
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th October 2019
Closes: 31st December 2019

Summary: This project will investigate methods and systems to rapidly generate and alter physical models to synchronise with digital versions.

The project is anticipated to include, but is not limited to:

  • Integration of additive, subtractive, and sculpting technologies into the next generation of rapid manufacture systems for prototyping.
  • Technologies for macro - and micro-scale editing of existing prototypes.
  • Investigation of technologies for digital/physical synchronisation.
  • Investigation of methods to accelerate prototyping processes, better support design processes, reduce cost, and reduce waste.
  • Process planning for new AM technologies and alignment with prototyping requirements.

Context: The divide between the digital and physical domains in in design are shrinking, where integrating the power of the digital world with the tangibility of the physical has created advanced and highly capable products. Many radical, cutting-edge technologies have emerged; including the ongoing VR and AR revolution, A.I. and data-driven physical systems (i.e. self-driving cars), and virtual assistants and analytics encroaching further into the physical world.

Seamless digital/physical integration often fails to transition into the processes that create such revolutionary products, particularly during prototyping, leaving design itself without the proven benefits that cutting-edge products have enjoyed. Prototyping is often a manual, skilled process, with frequent iterations between back and forward between digital and physical models of different fidelities, each tested and updated as the product develops. This process costs time and money and negates many of the emergent benefits that digital/physical integration can create.

URL for further information

How to apply:

To apply, please submit a PhD application using our online application system ( Select PhD Mechanical Engineering on the Programme Choice page. Enter details of the studentship in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form with the name of the supervisor.

Person specification: 

We are looking for an enthusiastic student with a Master’s degree. This project would suit a graduate in Engineering or Science with an interest in design, manufacturing and associated technologies, and some experience in Additive Manufacture. In addition to practical implementation of the proposed method(s) some computational/modelling work will be required using tools such as Autodesk Fusion, Blender, Grass Hopper and Matlab.

If English is not your first language, please provide a recognised English language qualification at Profile E. Further information:


  • Full UK/EU (EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to 1st September 2019) PhD tuition fees
  • EU nationals resident in the EU may also apply but will only qualify for PhD tuition fees.


For informal enquiries, please email Dr. Chris Snider ( and Prof. Ben Hicks (

For general enquiries, please email

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