Engineering Doctorate Studentship Unbundling: an innovative approach to delivering value through the supply chain

Closing Date: 2nd December 2013                                                                            

Start Date: 1st January 2014

Context and Background

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

As one of the UK’s largest contractors, Willmott Dixon has a vast project portfolio across a diverse set of markets. Improving their unbundling is likely to yield major benefits for the company both in terms of business efficiencies and financial gains. To create a comprehensive unbundling strategy Willmott Dixon are looking to adapt and adopt a raft of new thinking, competencies, procedures, policies, tools and techniques. Unbundling also has the opportunity to make a wider contribution to the efficiency of the UK construction sector. In contributing to the initiative the EngD student will become an integral part of the Willmott Dixon Team, working alongside the Principal Buyer, Commercial Director, key Suppliers and Supply Chain members.   

Research Aim

The aim of the EngD research project is to enable the application of an innovative unbundling strategy within Willmott Dixon to transform competencies and procurement tools, techniques and practices.

Research Objectives

The main objectives are to:

  • Investigate the various perspectives of unbundling strategies, theory, competencies, practices, tools & techniques;
  • Develop a theoretical framework for understanding the practice of unbundling that includes perspectives on costs and risk;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of Willmott Dixon’s current approach across all parts of the business;
  • Develop, evaluate and monitor interventions (competencies, practices, tools & techniques) for achieving unbundling and, establishing the ways in which existing (and new) supply networks need to be configured.

Expected Outcomes

Key anticipated outcomes of the project include:

  • Successful diffusion of an unbundling strategy across Willmott Dixon’s businesses and supply network;
  • A suite of refined and tested ‘unbundling’ tools and techniques built on a deeper understanding of the competencies and practices required to successfully unbundle;
  • New theoretical understandings of unbundling rooted within the context of the construction industry.

Suitable Candidates

This EngD research project is open to graduates with a relevant degree in the built environment that are articulate, well qualified and highly motivated. The minimum entry qualification is a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent. A lower qualification is acceptable only if supplemented with an appropriate postgraduate (MSc/MEng) qualification and relevant industrial experience.


The successful applicant will receive a minimum 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.


For informal discussions about the research project please contact Dr Scott Fernie at

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