Postgraduate research opportunities

Renewable supply chain fit for 2020

This studentship will explore the question of whether sustainable supply chains are feasible for a range of engineering products.

Number of places





20 May 2020


31 July 2020


3 years


Qualifications and Experience

The studentships are available for UK, EU and International* students, who possess or are about to obtain a first class or 2.1 (Honours), or equivalent EU/International qualification, in the relevant discipline.

The successful candidate will have the following skills

  • A proactive approach, with initiative and ability to work independently
  • Ability to: Synthesise, summarise and draw conclusions
  • Adhere to strict standards of confidentiality
  • Work in distributed teams
  • Strength to cope with schedules and deadlines
  • Excellent organisational and communication skills
  • Excellent written and spoken English.

*International students must be able to provide evidence of funding and pay the difference between the UK Home Fee and International Fee.

Find out more about this exciting PhD opportunity by clicking through the tabs above.

Individuals interested in this project should email, along with the title of the project you are applying for and attach your most up-to-date cv.

Project Details

Introduction and Background:

Government commitments to a zero carbon economy and in more general terms sustainability provide an important statement of intent on climate change and the environment. This establishes the basis of an important area of policy for years to come, in an area huge importance few would question. However, they do not define how the necessary changes will be achieved.  One important, but often overlooked, area of change in the drive towards a sustainable future is the importance of manufacturing and supply of goods.  The question arises of whether it is possible to supply a developed economy in a sustainable manner and what this means.

Research plan, current challenges and objectives:

During this studentship, the successful applicant could have the opportunity to collaborate with the UK-FIRES team. This includes academic partners from the University of Cambridge, Oxford, Nottingham and Bath as well as Imperial collage London. There are also an ever increasing number of industrial partners.    UK- FIRES at its core has a long term view that tries to address the challenges the world will be facing in terms of resource efficiency and carbon release. This is a large challenge by its very nature, therefore a group of multi-disciplinary individuals and expert groups are trying to address the problem from different viewpoints.

There are other PhD students on the UK-FIRES program and each group works independently but to get the most impactful collaboration would be required. The student would be involved in the monthly post doc and PhD student meeting, living lab meetings and would be asked to provide updates regularly. This would give them fantastic exposure to the larger research group and allow them to build a high quality network. This collaboration will also lead to high impact publications.

This studentship will explore the question of whether sustainable supply chains are feasible for a range of engineering products.  This is a broad and complex subject area, but the studentship is likely to consider some of the following questions:-

  • How would a sustainable supply chain, factory, or manufacturing process route be defined? What would be the characteristics, and do standards pay a role in driving change?
  • What approaches / exemplars and models of sustainable supply exist today, and what success factors influenced their uptake, impact and importance?
  • Do business improvement practices, such as lean engineering, need to be developed and refocused to address the challenges of sustainability?
  • Can example challenges at the sector, supply chain, and process technology level be used to illustrate and test available and arising definitions?
  • Can a truly sustainable model be achieved without an enhanced level of collaboration and cooperation between organisations?

Is there a role for technology management approaches such as technology road mapping in driving change?

The studentship is well aligned with the technology objectives of NMIS (National Manufacturing Institute Scotland), and the enduring theme of sustainability which is built into the NMIS technology framework.  The studentship also builds on expertise at the AFRC in net shape, low energy forming processes and the need to improve the route to market for such technology

Funding Details

This fully-funded industrial PhD opportunity will cover Home and EU Fees and Stipend.

We will accept applications from international students who can confirm in their email application that they are able to pay the difference between the Home and International fees (approximately £16,500 per annum). The Stipend is not to be used to cover fees. If you are unable to cover this cost the application will be rejected.


The University of Strathclyde supervisor for this PhD is Prof. M ward

Please note: We request that potential candidates do not contact Prof. Ward and instead direct all questions to

Contact us

How to apply

Individuals interested in this project should email, along with the title of the project you are applying for and attach your most up-to-date cv.