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Strategies for Resilient Supply Chains within a Circular Economy Environment.

   Faculty of Engineering and Informatics

About the Project

The manner in which customers and organisations buy goods and services have changed dramatically in recent times. Globalisation policies, reduction of trade barriers, development of new technologies (e.g. mobile technologies, the internet, the digital economy) etc. have contributed to promote change in operations and their supply chains in order to enhance their competitive advantage and level of responsiveness to a dynamic business environment.

Furthermore, regulations, sustainability issues and the circular economy are creating new opportunities and challenges to improve operational and strategic performance.  However, disruption in the supply chain can have a very critical negative effect on its performance, with short, medium and long term consequences. Natural disasters, human conflicts, unexpected changes in national policies, global pandemics, political crisis, etc. can dramatically disrupt global supply chains of different industries.

Modern organisations need to formulate and implement successful strategies to enhance supply chain resilience and rapidly overcome the challenges of unexpected disruptions. This is also very relevant for organisations that are seeking to take advantage of a dynamic circular economy environment in which products are designed to have an extended life cycle.

System Dynamics is a modelling technique that allows understanding the behaviour of a complex system along time. Thus, System Dynamics can help to identify the key elements or factors of a complex system, to quantify the causal relationships among the elements of the system and to analyse their influence on the overall behaviour of the system, and to simulate different dynamic scenarios of the behaviour of the system under study.

Therefore, the aim of this PhD research project is to apply the System Dynamics modelling methodology to analyse innovative strategies to design more resilient supply chains within a Circular Economy environment. Global supply chains can be considered as complex systems that operate within a dynamics business environment.

The PhD candidate should have a relevant engineering background, with knowledge or experience in operations and supply chain management. This could include an MSc in these relevant topics. This PhD research project requires the candidate to have the willingness to learn to use System Dynamics modelling software. e.g. Vensim and Anylogic. The PhD candidate should also have excellent oral communication and academic writing skills in English. Experience in writing academic articles and/or conference papers is desirable.

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD project; applicants will be expected to pay their own fees or have a suitable source of third-party funding. UK students may be able to apply for a Doctoral Loan from Student Finance for financial support.


Al-Talib, M.; Melhem, W.; Anosike, A.; Garza-Reyes, J.; Nadeem, S., Kumar, A. (2020); Achieving resilience in the supply chain by applying IoT technology, Procedia CIRP, Vol. 91, pp. 752-757.
Christopher, M. and Peck, H. (2004), Building the Resilient Supply Chain, The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 1-14.
Killingsworth, W. (2011); Design, Analysis and Optimization of Supply Chains: A System Dynamics Approach, The Supply and Operations Management Collection, Business Expert Press.
Meadows, D. (2008); Thinking in Systems, Sustainability Institute, Chelsea Green Publishing.
Morecroft, J. (2015); Strategic Modelling and Business Dynamics: A feedback systems approach, Wiley.
Sterman, J. (2000); Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World, McGraw-Hill.
Waters, D. (2011); Supply Chain Risk Management: Vulnerability and Resilience in Logistics, KoganPage.

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