Engineering Doctorate Studentship Optimising hospital designs and processes to enhance efficiency and patient experience

Closing Date: 1st December 2013                                                                                                 

Start Date: 1st January 2014

Context and Background

An opportunity exists for a Research Engineer to lead a joint research venture between Buro Happold and Loughborough University as part of the prestigious four-year Engineering Doctorate programme, leading to the award ‘Doctor of Engineering’.

The healthcare sector continually faces significant challenges to increase efficiency and patient experience, whilst achieving energy and cost savings. Unfortunately, healthcare design is led by prescriptive regulations that lead to sub-optimal solutions, which do not consider the complex interaction between diverse journeys, functions and processes. Consequently, there is an increasing demand for simulation tools that produce accurate prediction of journey patterns and simple, realistic visualisations of utilisation and efficiency to enable rapid optimisation. Such tools could be used by designers and stakeholders to facilitate truly evidence-based decision making by testing the impact of different space use configurations and operational processes against vital business parameters.

Research Aim

The aim of this project is to a) outline key drivers and gather data associated with key patient journeys and processes, and b) develop and test simple and effective analysis and simulation tools to aid effective design and planning of healthcare facilities.

Research Objectives

The main objectives are to:

  • Define the complex interactions between patient, staff and visitor journeys /processes across a chosen set of departments within hospitals.
  • Define those key parameters that define and influence people’s behaviour and experiences. What makes people happy? What drives or limits efficiency and effectiveness in hospitals?
  • Develop analytical models to represent the above interactions into dashboards highlighting business and performance parameters such as patient comfort, process efficiency, staff utilisation, etc.
  • Either lead or support the development of simulation tools and interventions.
  • Test and validate models and interventions for effectiveness within real-world projects.

Expected Outcomes

Key anticipated outcomes of the project include:

  • Simple and intuitive simulation tools that aid the rapid optioneering and optimisation of hospital designs and processes.
  • Dashboards for real-time monitoring and planning of hospital performance and operations.
  • A library of Key Performance Indicators, targets and best practises for hospitals and clinics.
  • A database associated with key patient journeys and processes
  • Sophisticated modelling and process optimisation technologies to healthcare design and operations.

Suitable Candidates

This EngD research project is open to graduates with a relevant degree in Computing, Engineering, Architecture, Science, Mathematics, or a related discipline, and that are articulate, well qualified and highly motivated. Programming skills e.g. C/C++/C# are highly desirable. The minimum entry qualification is a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent.


The successful applicant will receive a minimum enhanced tax-free stipend of £19,000 p.a. and a generous training allowance. Due to Tier 4 visa restrictions on industry placements, this is only available to UK/EU applicants.

How to Apply

Applications will only be accepted with the relevant supporting documents (see how to apply) and should be made through Loughborough University’s Online Application Portal which can be accessed by clicking the Apply link below.

The successful candidate will be required to work at buro happold in bath, whilst also attending loughborough university as required.

For informal discussions about the research project please contact Prof Andrew Price at or Dr Becky Hayward at

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