PhD Opportunities & Vacancies

The following PhD research projects are available, under the supervision of Prof. Duncan McFarlane, Dr Ajith Parlikad or Dr Alexandra Brintrup.

PhD Opportunities

PhD supervision at DIAL is given by Prof. Duncan McFarlane, Dr. Ajith Parlikad, and Dr. Alexandra Brintrup. Please inquire directly.


Funding may be available at EPSRC levels for UK / EU students. For overseas students, funding might be available through the Cambridge International Scholarship Scheme. Potential applicants are also encouraged to visit the Cambridge Trust website and the university's website on graduate funding for more information regarding funding opportunities. 


Specific PhD opportunities are given below.


1. Two PhD studentships supported by the EPSRC and Siemens are available to work in the area of digital manufacturing. Digital manufacturing is the application of digital information [from multiple sources, formats, owners] for the enhancement of manufacturing processes, value chains, products and services. This PhD position will examine research issues of interest to both Siemens and Cambridge and might include - for example - development of low cost industrial automation solutions; the application of internet of things (IoT) in an industrial context; development and use of digital models of processes and products (so called digital twins); automation systems as a service offering; and digital applications in maintenance and asset management. The successful candidate will be based in Cambridge but would be expected to undertake case study work with Siemens and their industrial partners as part of the project.


Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree (and preferably a Masters degree) in Engineering or Physical Sciences. Some understanding of computer systems applications in industry would be an advantage. This studentships will cover UK University fees and a maintenance allowance of at least £14,582 per year.


For more details and application instructions please see:


For questions please contact Professor Duncan McFarlane,



Research Assistant/Associate in Distributed Intelligent Systems (Fixed Term)


A position exists, for a Research Assistant/Associate in the Department of Engineering, to work on the Next Generation Converged Digital Infrastructure project funded by EPSRC and BT examining next generation telecommunications networks. The Research Assistant/Associate will work with the Distributed Information and Automation Laboratory (DIAL) at the Institute for Manufacturing. The researcher will focus on the development of the supervisory or 'knowledge layer' for the system - an approach for the control and management of the network of service and communications nodes. It is anticipated that this supervisory layer will comprise interacting software agents which mirror or twin with physical nodes and provide a coordinated network level management of the nodes. The development of this supervisory layer will draw on developments in other industrial domains and will particularly focus on the management of the operations of the large number of nodes in the face of disruption and change. In addition to this principle responsibility, the researcher will be expected to contribute to other research projects and activities within DIAL.


For more details and application instructions please see:


For questions please contact Professor Duncan McFarlane,

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