PhD Opportunity in Manufacturing Informatics and Knowledge Discovery

PhD Opportunity (Industrial CASE): Knowledge discovery approaches to support Competence & Knowledge management

Applications are invited from UK/EU citizens due to funding restrictions for a 3.5 year fully-funded PhD Studentship in conjunction with Airbus UK. The topic is  provisionally titled “Knowledge discovery approaches to support Competence & Knowledge management”, working with Dr Ben Hicks (Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol from June 1st 2013) and Professor Steve Culley (Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath).

Airbus currently maintains a number of structured databases that underpin their competence management & training process, lessons learnt approach and intranet search. There is an opportunity to exploit these datasets through integration or abstraction in order to generate added-value for the organisation beyond the original scope of the systems. This added-value might include data mining of particular datasets, such as the catalogue of jobs and their skills, in order to assist with its management, or approaches that logically connect data from separate systems to enable the discovery of engineering related knowledge.

The scientific challenges concern: the identification of value-add from the databases and their underlying taxonomies, the application and tailoring of data mining approaches to generate engineering value-add/knowledge, and the tailoring of techniques and/or creation of new forms of visualisation to represent the engineering knowledge.

The programme of work will involve stakeholder analysis to establish potential/desired value add, algorithm development for data mining and visualisation, software prototyping and user studies.

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This is a unique opportunity to work with two of the UK’s leading Engineering Departments (Bristol and Bath) which enjoy enviable positions at the forefront of international research. The successful applicant will be based at Bristol University and work with Airbus and researchers at the University of Bath. They will also receive training in research methods, teaching/tutorials and research project management.

Due to funding restrictions all applicants must be UK/EU citizens. EU citizens must have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years. Applicants require a minimum of an upper second class honours degree or equivalent in mechanical engineering, design, manufacturing, mathematics, computer-science, or a related subject. The Studentship carries with it an enhanced tax-free stipend in the region of £18k. The project will start as soon as possible.

For further information or an informal chat, please contact Dr Ben Hicks (

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