PhD scholarship - Design of freeform conformable fixtures with selective passive reacting capabilities

Closing Date
Saturday, 31st March 2018

Jointly funded by: The University of Nottingham and Manufacturing Technology Centre

Applications are open to undertake a 3 ½ year PhD programme in partnership with industry to address key challenges in advanced manufacturing engineering. The successful candidate will be based at both the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in Manufacturing and On-Wing Technology ( the University of Nottingham and Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry (

This is an exciting project that aims to take a technology from the academic level (Univ. of Nottingham) and progress it to near-industrial (MTC) environment.

We are seeking applicants for an anticipated September 2018 start, or earlier on a project in collaboration with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).

The aim of this work is to investigate, design and evaluate solutions of fixtures that can easily conform to complex geometries while offering the ability to continuously modify their stiffness along the part geometry. This will be achieved through the use of Finite Element static and dynamic analysis of stiffness controlled structures and demonstrate them as fixturing systems for complex geometry parts on both laboratory and near-industrial levels. The project finally aims to offer a breakthrough solution for fixturing of low-stiffness components by minimising the holding forces while inducing minimisation their dynamic instability when external forces are applied.

The project will offer a challenging mixture of practical experimentation, mechanical design and analytical/numerical modelling.

We are seeking talented candidates with:

  • First or upper second class degree in mechanical/manufacturing/physics or related scientific discipline.
  • First rate analytical and numerical skills, with a well-rounded academic background.
  • The ability to produce high quality presentations and written reports.
  • A well demonstrated background in CAD software and mechanical design, with an eye for creative solutions.
  • A sound foundation in the use of the Finite Element Method (FE), both from a theoretical perspective as well from practical modelling software experience.
  • Knowledge/experience in the field of fixturing would be advantageous.
  • A driven, professional and self-dependent work attitude is essential for the successful candidate.
  • Experience of working within industry will be an advantage.

This is an excellent opportunity to work on a cutting edge industrial research project, while obtaining a doctorate in one of the best engineering institutions in the UK and developing leadership skills in preparation for a high-impact, high-technology research career.

The scholarship on offer (to eligible students) comprises a minimum tax-free stipend of £14,553 a year, tuition fees paid and a generous study package (e.g. research consumables, travel budget and industrial training when appropriate).

  • A fully-funded 3.5 year doctorate programme, that integrates an industry based doctoral research project with research training in technical subjects and interdisciplinary skills.
  • Supervision from international leaders in advanced manufacturing technologies. 

Eligibility: UK/EU citizen

Enquiries: Prof. Dragos Axinte, University of Nottingham, Email:; Tel: 011595 14117

Deadline: Until the position is filled.