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Professor Alex Duffy

Head Of Department

Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management

Personal statement

I have over 28 years research experience, 24 years in project management, with breadth and depth of expertise and knowledge in design (product and systems), product development and supporting tools/techniques.  To instil good design research practice I formulated a design research approach and developed an analysis tool to be used in companies in order to identify key target areas for performance improvement, strategic development and collaboration.

I have secured publication of 209 articles of which 32 are journal and 107 refereed conference papers.  The focus of the latter in order to secure the work at the earliest possible date, particularly within the rapidly changing research field of computational design.  I have defined the first overall model of engineering design re-use, pioneering design performance, leading advances in design co-ordination, and created a unique model of learning in design. My research vision in 1984 of developing a fully integrated computing design environment formed the basis of the establishment of a Faculty wide Computer Aided Design Centre, of which I later became a director, and my current vision of Enabling Total Engineering defines the research vision for the department of Design Manufacture and Engineering Management.

Since becoming an academic, in 1986, I have led in securing over £38.9M of project funding of which over £4.8M directly supports my own research activities, I am currently in the negotiation stage of a further EC project worth £1.5M of which my own funding is for £315K, and I am about to sign an MoU with BAE Systems for £1M. Details of my funding activities can be seen in Appendix C.

I championed and co-ordinated the largest FP5 EU technology platform project (VRS), in terms of combined money and partners, involving 38 research groups, from 13 different European countries, with 12 in industry, 12 other businesses, 7 research establishments and 7 in the higher education sector.  I was one of five topic leaders on VIRTUE, a 17M€ EU project with 22 European partners working on integrated Computational Fluid Dynamics for Ship Design, one of four topic leaders on NECTISE (Network Enabled Capability Through Innovative Systems Engineering) an £8.4M joint EPSRC and BAE Systems project involving 10 UK university partners, and was a partner in the Design, Operation, and Regulation for Ship Safety (SAFEDOR) 20M€ EU project with 53 European partners. The resulting Virtual Integration Platform (VIP) platform is a realisation of my early research vision of an Integrated Design Environment, IDE, (see pages B3 and B7).  The platform addresses the integration and management of distributed life-phase support systems covering conception, design, production and operations, as well as multi-disciplinary and distributed working.

I am the editor of one and on the editorial board of 3 international journals and have been on 84 advisory boards, organised 11 international workshops, examined 24 Ph.Ds and successfully supervised 14 Ph.D graduates.  Industry have benefited with savings in process execution time of 64% and 45% resource cost reduction [10, 8, 73, 98][1], the identification of key target areas for maximising performance improvement [81] and with improvements of modularity of 19-26%.  A system resulting from the research is currently in industrial use and developments are ongoing to roll it out to a wider European community (EuroVIP).

[1] References found in list of publications, Appendix D.


The challenges in computer supported conceptual engineering design
Vuletic Tijana, Duffy Alex, Hay Laura, McTeague Christopher, Pidgeon Laura, Grealy Madeleine
Computers in Industry Vol 95, pp. 22-37, (2018)
Pareidolia : the phenomenon of facial anthropomorphism in product design
Wodehouse Andrew, Brisco Ross, Broussard Edward, Duffy Alex
Journal of Design Research, pp. 1-16, (2018)
Improving the creation and management of collaborative networks within the European maritime sector : An operational collaboration model for the European maritime sector
Vuletic Tijana, Whitfield Robert Ian, Wang Wenjuan, Duffy Alex, Gatchell Scott, Prins Henk, Leer-Andersen Michael
Journal of Industrial Information Integration Vol 8, pp. 22-37, (2017)
Key findings to support the development of a framework for the implementation of Product Lifecycle Management in Engineer to Order products
McKendry D.A., Whitfield R.I., Duffy A.H.B.
15th International Conference on Manufacturing Research, (2017)
An exploration of design synthesis
McTeague Chris, Duffy Alex, Campbell Gerard, Grealy Madeleine, Hay Laura, Pidgeon Laura, Vuletic Tijana
ICED17, 21st International Conference on Engineering Design, pp. 279-288, (2017)
A systematic review of protocol studies on conceptual design cognition : design as search and exploration
Hay Laura, Duffy Alex H. B., McTeague Chris, Pidgeon Laura M., Vuletic Tijana, Grealy Madeleine
Design Science Vol 3, (2017)

more publications


My teaching is primarily in the areas of design management, computational techniques, and product development to both postgraduate and undergraduate students.  My loading varies between 170 – 240 hours per annum.  I have successfully supervised 143 postgraduate and undergraduate individual projects (55 M.Sc, 43 M.Eng research projects and 45 B.Eng/MEng design projects) with 100% pass rate (see Appendix F).  I have introduced five new courses and one currently being developed, five at Postgraduate (Integrated Product Development, Engineering Design, Digital Creativity, Operations Management in Engineering, and Systems Engineering the latter currently being introduced) and one undergraduate in Design Computing.

My approach is to stimulate an environment of active learning through close interaction with the students.  I am actively involved in developing on-line material and was a co-investigator on a £1.1M NSF/JISC joint initiative between Stanford (USA) and Strathclyde (UK) on the use of digital libraries in the classroom to support collaborative design team working.  The project provided material to further my research in developing fundamental insights in to learning in design and has formed the basis for a draft “radical” proposal for distributed design education currently being discussed with the Scottish Funding Council.

Research interests

Latest initiatives

Currently in the final stages of negotiating a €1.8M 19 partner (8 associations, 3 large enterprises, 6 SMEs, and 2 Universities) EC FP7 project on Virtual Integrated Partnering (VIP) for SME service, technology and information providers in the European maritime sector. Contract should be finalised by the end of 2010 with a project start date of February 2011. The aim of the EuroVIP project is to increase the competitive position of European maritime SMEs through the development of partnerships between SMEs, larger organisations, and academia that facilitate the effective exploitation and synthesis of service, technology and information advances.

Signed a University Technology Partnership Memorandum of Understanding with BAE Systems Surface Ships for forming, with 6 universities, a federated “Centre of Excellence”. Strathclyde would be one of two leading institutions with an impetus and main focus upon “Total Engineering” (DMEM’s research/Leonardo Centre research focus) but it is not restricted to such. Funding is confidential at the moment but will cover significant activities for 5 years.

Co-investigator in an EPSRC recently approved Engineering Doctorate Centre in Advanced Forming and Manufacture valued at £3.1M for 32 Engineering Doctorate students. The project is due to start October 2011. Industrial partners include Rolls-Royce, The Boeing Company, Mettis Aerospace, Timet, Aubert & Duval, GKN, Renishaw, Microsoft, Bodycote, EKES, Mitutoyo, and Fanuc Automation.

Latest grants

During 2004 I secured formal recognition from BAE Systems as an Academic Competent Partner Systems Design Decision Support. During this period I competed against 60 other academics from any discipline throughout the UK in an EPSRC/BAE Systems Novel Systems Engineering initiative to be selected to lead one of four key topic areas (decision support) in a 5½ year research programme. A full proposal was submitted to EPSRC in January 2005 with approval for a project that started in October 2005. The project was termed Networked Capability Through Innovative Systems Engineering, NECTISE, involving 11 UK Universities and was awarded a grant of £8.4M, of which I was awarded £724K. The project was prematurely terminated in 2009 due to organisational and strategic changes under financial pressures.

Secured, with partners from the universities of Bath, Queen's Belfast, Leicester and Loughborough (co-ordinator), an EPSRC Doctorate Training Centre in Systems Engineering from October 2006 to 2013. The centre is in collaboration with industrial partners such as Babcock Engineering Services, BAE Systems, Bombardier Aerospace, DePuy International, Ford, QinetiQ, Thales and Westland. EPSRC grant is £3.5M with a planned additional funding of £1.3M from industry for a 4-year initiation programme (7 years overall).

One of five Work Package leaders in the €17M project VIRTUE: The Virtual Tank Utility in Europe project with 22 partners, The project aimed to create four virtual basins, that could be combined, to provide a comprehensive testing and simulation of new ship design.

Co-investigator on an NSF/JISC joint initiative on the use of digital libraries in the classroom to support collaborative design team working, involving Stanford (USA) and Strathclyde (UK), £1.1M over 5 years (Strathclyde grant value of £512K).  March 2003 – February 2008.



In addition to those involved in EU and UK projects:

  • Professor Yu-Xin Wang, Zhejiang University, China.
  • Advisory Professor at Tongji University, Shanghai, China, May 2005 – April 2008.
  • Professor M M Andreasen, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark.
  • Professor Y Reich, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
  • Dr E Szczerbicki, University of Newcastle, Australia.
  • Member and management board member of a European supported network of industrial and academic partners working in “Integration in Manufacturing and Beyond” (1992-2000)
  • Member of UK Network of Experts in Knowledge Based Systems involving a number of academic and industrial collaborators (1997-2000).

Professional activities

International Conference on Decision Support System Technology (ICDSST 2017)
Member of programme committee
Institution of Engineering Designers (External organisation)
7th International Conference on Design Computing and Cognition (DCC'16)
14th International Design Conference (Design)
Member of programme committee
7th International Conference on Design Computing and Cognition (DCC'16)
Member of programme committee
2nd International Conference on Decision Support System Technology (ICDSST 2016)
Member of programme committee

more professional activities


Enhancement of Generic Modules within Sustainable Engineering
Grierson, David (Principal Investigator) Duffy, Alexander (Academic)
Period 01-Oct-2007 - 01-Oct-2010
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTA - University of Strathclyde) | Campbell, Gerard
Duffy, Alexander (Principal Investigator) Grealy, Madeleine (Co-investigator) Campbell, Gerard (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Jul-2016 - 01-Jul-2019
NECTISE - DTA Studentships from Loughborough | Di Maio, Paola
Duffy, Alexander (Principal Investigator) Whitfield, Robert (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Jan-2009 - 02-May-2012
Duffy, Alexander (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Jan-2007 - 15-Apr-2013
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTA - University of Strathclyde) | McTeague, Christopher
Duffy, Alexander (Principal Investigator) Grealy, Madeleine (Co-investigator) McTeague, Christopher (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Feb-2015 - 01-Aug-2018
Doctoral Training Centre In Continuous Manufacturing And Crystallisation | Todorova-Aleksieva, Leda
Duffy, Alexander (Principal Investigator) Akartunali, Kerem (Co-investigator) Todorova-Aleksieva, Leda (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2013 - 01-Dec-2017

more projects


Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management
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