Fully Funded PhD in Computational Design

This fully-funded PhD will investigate the future of Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) in response to emerging data-driven manufacturing processes that incorporate robotic fabrication, Internet-of-Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence. 
Fully Funded PhD in Computational Design

Sophisticated data-driven design and manufacturing processes could radically transform how we design and produce products (at all scales), whilst simultaneously blurring disciplinary boundaries between design, ethnography, engineering, computing and manufacturing. They could open up entirely new ways of making bespoke, personalised products at an industrial scale (i.e. generative design); enable real-time adaptation and re-orientation of entire factories based on design changes (i.e. eliminating need for generational product releases); and enable new forms of digital ethnography that exploit real-time data harvested by embedded sensors with IoT connectivity to understand real-world product usage “in the wild” (i.e. new forms of interaction design). 

The key research question that this PhD will address is: how will computer-aided-design technologies and design practices need to change to enable this vision of sophisticated data-driven manufacturing?

To address this question, the PhD candidate will investigate specific challenge areas for data-driven manufacturing systems, then develop, prototype and evaluate a series of innovative design solutions (e.g. novel data visualisation methods, 3D modelling techniques for large-scale robotic fabrication technologies) to explore possible solutions.

This project will form part of a broader collaboration between the universities of Lancaster, Nottingham, Edinburgh, UEL and Cardiff that seeks to develop data-driven factories of the future in collaboration with a larger team of academics and industrial partners. 

The PhD student will be a member of the Lancaster’s Data Science Institute, and will be based in Imagination Lancaster within the Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts.

The ideal PhD candidate will be: comfortable working at the intersection of design and creative computing, enthusiastic about future data-driven manufacturing processes, have strong CAD and/or programming and prototyping skills using open-source tools such as Processing and Arduino (or be willing to develop these skills), and be eager to work with a larger team of academics and industrial partners to imagine, prototype and test novel design interactions for future manufacturing systems.

Applicants must be UK citizens and resident in the United Kingdom.

Studentship includes (as of October 2017):

•              Tuition Fees (UK) of £4,195

•              Maintenance Award of £14,553 (per annum)

Candidates are strongly encouraged to contact the lead supervisor, Dr Dan Richards (d [dot] richards [at] lancaster [dot] ac [dot] uk ), to arrange an informal discussion about the project and its aims.