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Development of a high-fidelity Digital Twins for a continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing process with self-tuning capability

Project Description

Application details:
Reference number: CG-BB-1904
Start date of studentship: 1 October 2019
Closing date of advert: 4 September 2019

Primary supervisor: Dr Brahim Benyahia (Department of Chemical Engineering)
Secondary supervisor: Prof Chris Rielly (Department of Chemical Engineering)

Loughborough University

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Project overview

Computational tools and model-based optimisation, control and more broadly decision-making methods and applications have grown dramatically over the last decade and opened opportunities for a new generation of digital representation and simulation tools referred to as Digital Twins. A Digital Twin provides a virtual and yet a living and interactive replica of a physical system, process or product. It offers an augmented simulation and visualisation platform and is expected to become a standard capability in all industries in near future.

The pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries are undergoing a paradigm shift with the development and adoption of more flexible regulatory tools, agile lean and cost-effective continuous manufacturing technologies as well as robust decision-making systems. There are urgent and unprecedent needs for more reliable and predictable simulation tools for model-based design, optimisation and control which came with a real transformation of the pharmaceutical job market.
Project Details:

This PhD project will look at the development and validation of new strategies to build predictable dynamic mathematical models and high-fidelity digital twins of a continuous pharmaceutical process with self-optimising capabilities. The focus of the project will be mainly modelling and simulation but also potentially experimental validation that can be conducted by the PhD student or research collaborators.

This PhD Project will benefit from our strong and well-established expertise in mathematical modelling, simulation and process control. It will also be conducted as part of the Future Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation Research Hub (CMAC HUB,) a world-class consortium involving more than 30 industrial and academic partners, including 8 Big Pharma companies (e.g. GSK, Novartis, Astra Zeneca, Roche, Pfizer). Initial studies would focus on a continuous crystallisation stage, but then the methodology would be extended to include downstream isolation steps, leading to a seamless fusion of physical and data-driven model implementations.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) and a relevant Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering or related subject.

Contact details

Name: Dr Brahim Benyahia
Email address:
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 222530

How to apply

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select: Chemical Engineering

Please quote reference number: CG-BB-1904

Funding Notes

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non-EU) students may apply, however the total value of the studentship will cover the international tuition fee only.

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