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  (A*STAR Split-site) Future Manufacturing Systems and SMEs

   Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering

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  Dr Lihong Zhang, Dr Zhiquan Yeo, Dr Jinsheng Chen  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This joint doctoral project seeks to develop collaborative relationships with UK/Singapore-based SMEs and starts-up,

to learn about business priorities in co-creating future manufacturing systems. It demonstrates the University’s

dynamic capabilities for a long-term research impact of high value technologies and engineering. It contributes to the

EPSRC “Manufacturing the future”, “Digital Economy” and “Circular Economy” themes by particularly relating

manufacturing SMEs to the digital and circular economy.

SMEs of high-tech equipped are often key players of a national and inter-national economy. This positions a strategic question on their business model design and investment in high value manufacturing system. A sustainable and

competitive manufacturing eco-system will need to consider challenges and opportunities brought up to SMEs by the

process and context of globalisation, urbanisation and digitalisation. This PhD scholarship research will provide fresh

evidence and new perspective of how high-tech manufacturing companies integrate their supply networks and emerge business models.

Emerging manufacturing paradigms are conceptual business models that are currently and widely debated. These

paradigms hold a great potential to locate and optimise digital, commercial, social and environmental gains - through

stakeholders smartly and ethically sharing resources, activities, information and knowledge. The successful PhD

applicants will examine these manufacturing business and operations models to address the debates in regarding to

digital transformation, sustainability and green manufacturing, cybersecurity, social and sharing manufacturing,

knowledge transfer, supply chain integration, etc.

Exploring and exploiting the emerging manufacturing paradigms - via online meetings, focus groups, workshops and

company visits - will enhance and expand collaborations with industries and societies. Practitioners will know and

appreciate University’s research expertise and facilities. Academics will understand industry’s reality and priorities.

Collectively and proactively, they anticipate, drive and shape the strategic development and implementation of

future manufacturing system – e.g. by influencing policy makers. This joint PhD programme between University of

Manchester and Singapore A*STAR Institutes will undertake research with 1st and 4th year in the UK and 2nd and 3rd

year in Singapore.

A successful PhD applicant will have 1st class or upper 2nd master’s degree in the UK or equivalent globally. S/he is

highly motivated and committed to the academic research with good subject knowledge in engineering, operations,

and/or supply chain management. Information and communication technology skills and relevant work/research

experience would be advantageous. The full scholarship holder will work with and contribute to a research team and

community under the joint supervision team


Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2.1 honours degree or a master’s in a relevant science or engineering related discipline.


Scholarships are available for suitable candidates to commence on this 4-year programme in October 2024 including:

·        Tuition fees

·        Annual stipend at the minimum UKRI rate (2023/24 rate £18,622) to the students when in Manchester (for a maximum of 2 years) and when in A*STAR (two years) equivalent to S$2,700/month.

·        Flight allowance for students travelling to Singapore (£1,000) paid by University of Manchester.

·        One return airfare to/from Singapore (S$1,500) paid by A*STAR

·        Medical insurance and settling-in allowance (S$1,000) paid by A*STAR

·        An annual Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) towards project running costs/consumables (up to £5,000 pa) provided to all students when in Manchester.

·        Supervisor travel allowance up to £6,000 for two airfare/accommodation visits to Singapore. 

Before you apply

We strongly recommend that you contact the supervisor(s) for this project before you apply.

How to apply

To be considered for this project you’ll need complete a formal application through our online application portal.

When applying, you’ll need to specify the full name of this project, the name of your supervisor, how you’re planning on funding your research, details of your previous study, and names and contact details of two referees.

Your application will not be processed without all of the required documents submitted at the time of application, and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

If you have any questions about making an application, please contact our admissions team by emailing

[Email Address Removed].

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and are at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

 We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

 We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder).

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Funding Notes

See project description for funding notes

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