Challenging traditional automotive design processe...

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Challenging traditional automotive design processes through ambitious pioneering technologies

Eligibility: UK/EU students with the required entry requirements

Award Details: Bursary plus tuition fees - UK/EU only

Duration: Full Time - between 3 years and 3 years 6 months fixed term

Application deadline: 3rd April

Interview dates: TBC

Start date: May 2018

Informal enquiries are essential before application; contact Professor Andrew Parkes to discuss this opportunity.


Coventry University has been voted ‘Modern University of the Year’ three times running by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide. Ranked in the UK’s top 15 (Guardian University Guide), we have a global reputation for high quality teaching and research with impact. Almost two-thirds (61%) of our research was judged ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. By joining the University’s Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing (EEC), you will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and partnerships with some of the biggest names in industry, including Jaguar Land Rover, GE Aviation, Cummins and Intel.

The Project

New technologies are coming available that will impact on future vehicle design. This impact will take two forms; on the design process due to innovative tool development and on the attributes of the resultant vehicle design. This PhD will focus on the utility of new design tools and processes and contrast the speed of design, the level of engagement of stakeholders in the design, and consequent design quality with traditional approaches.

In particular, new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality and projection mapping allow a move away from the current heavy emphasis on physical rendering. Stages of the design process may be accelerated or even bypassed.  However apparent benefits in efficiency may be offset by reduction in the perceived quality of the final design, if the physical tactile elements of intermediate design stages are omitted.

New facilities within the National Transport Design Centre will allow a systematic investigation of such tools and processes. The results of such a study should be of immediate benefit to VITAL and provide material appropriate for dissemination in the peer-review literature.


  • Bursary plus tuition fees
  • For the academic year 2018/19, any English student who is not part of a research council can borrow up to £25,000 to help cover the cost of their PhD tuition fees. Further details can be found here.


  • Our research strategy is underpinned by a £250m investment in research and facilities
  • Dedicated Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability Development deliver high quality professional support for researchers, from PhD to Professor
  • Free training: research career planning, managing your doctorate, research communication skills, research ethics, research impact, research integrity, research methods and research supervision
  • Coventry is a member of the Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA), the largest multi-partner and only nationwide doctoral training initiative of its kind.

Entry requirements

Successful applicants will have:

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with  a minimum 60% overall module average.
  • In the event of a first degree classification of less than 2:1, a Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at minimum merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at minimum merit level (60%).


  • a taught Masters degree in a relevant discipline, involving a dissertation of standard length written in English in the relevant subject area with a minimum of a merit profile: 60% overall module average and a minimum of a 60% dissertation mark


  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a three-year period of study
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)


Vital and Coventry University are looking for an exceptional candidate who is highly motivated, persistent and confident in pursuing pioneering solutions. The successful recipient of the grant will be excited about exploring the topic beyond current conventions and to challenge both industry and academia with fresh thinking. They will accept to closely work with Vital in their studio as well as using all the opportunities and facilities of the university.

  • The interdisciplinary nature of this project means that applicants from a wide range of disciplines are encouraged to apply, particular interest would include but is not limited to  Computer and Software Engineers, Electrical Engineers and Product Design Engineers
  • A strong interest and eagerness to learn Automotive Design principles and techniques is also desired.
  • Experience of (or a willingness to quickly learn) about Automotive design processes and 3D printing principles.

Eligibility & Application Procedure


All UK/EU/International students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found making an application page.