Cranfield University and BABCOCK International are seeking a top class candidate to undertake research leading to the award of an International Engineering Doctorate awarded jointly by the Universities of Warwick, Exeter and Cranfield.

As a ‘research engineer’ on our International Doctorate programme you will have unrivalled access to some of the best teaching and industrial expertise in the world, across three universities.  While you will be based at Cranfield University and BABCOCK International, you will also spend time at Warwick and Exeter Universities to give you the broadest possible experience. You will emerge from the four-year programme more confident and better equipped to make a difference to the industrial sponsor and the global marketplace. 

This opportunity also provides a substantial tax free stipend (between £18,000 - £20,000) equivalent to many graduate jobs. Read more Read less


For more than a century, Babcock International has been trusted to deliver bespoke, highly-skilled engineering support. Underpinned by a deep understanding of technology integration, infrastructure management, and specialist training, BABCOCK help customers around the world to improve the capability, reliability and availability of their most critical assets within the key market sectors of Marine, Land, Aviation, and Nuclear.

The EngD is seeking to develop the concept of a digital twin for a series of subsystems (e.g. propulsion systems) to understand how subsystem degradation within a complex system (e.g. vehicles, and aircraft) can be modelled to understand the degradation performance of the overall system. The digital twin will aim to capture and store data in digital form so that we can have a networked interconnection for planning the through-life requirements of the complex system.

This EngD will consider the complexities experienced within the system of system context where degradation can have knock-on effects. The PhD will develop artificial intelligence driven approaches to predict how degradation evolves over time and optimise proactive behaviour to achieve complex system level targets such as asset availability and minimised cost.

At Cranfield, the candidate will be based at the Through-life Engineering Services Centre, which hosts cutting-edge simulation and visualisation facilities. The student will have access to high-end computers for simulating the complex nature of degradation.

Business Need and Opportunity

The digital twin to be developed in this EngD aims to deliver “Availability” of major asset against a customer requirement (Demand). This will contribute to matching supply of the different contributing service resources that will assist in making an asset available for the customer to undertake their operations. The PhD will develop degradation optimisation methods embedded in the digital twin to enable the planning process. This will help with supporting additional performance attributes or value propositions for the Sponsor such as:

• improved reliability (how often the major asset breaks down, a failure rate),
• improved responsiveness (How long it takes to fix a broken major asset),
• improved agility (How quickly the organisation can change its course of actions or service offer),
• reduced costs (How much expenditure is required to pay for operating the service resources).

At a glance

  • Application deadline30 Nov 2018
  • Award type(s)EngD
  • Duration of award4 years
  • EligibilityUK, EU
  • Reference numberSATM0086

Entry requirements

Applicants and candidates should have a minimum of an upper second (2.1) honours degree (or equivalent) preferably in Mechanical Engineering / Industrial Engineering / Mathematics / Operations Research. However candidates in other degrees related to Engineering or related quantitative fields would be considered.

Candidates with an MSc degree in these disciplines will be desirable. Would have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. 


This opportunity provides a substantial tax free stipend (between £18,000 - £20,000) equivalent to many graduate jobs.

About the sponsor

Sponsored by EPSRC and BABCOCK International

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This Network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas, identify opportunities for collaboration and create smaller communities of practice.  It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact:

Name: Dr. John Erkoyuncu
T: (0) 1234 75 4717

If you are eligible to apply for this studentship, please complete the online application form.