Self-funded PhD students only

Project Code:



Mechanical and Design Engineering

Start dates

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part-time PhD project. The PhD will be based in the School Mechanical and Design Engineering and will be supervised by Dr Hom Dhakal , Dr Mariana Dotcheva and Dr Krassimir Dotchev.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) method gives the opportunity to produce complex parts from engineering materials in short time directly from 3D CAD data. AM process leads to simplification of planning and manufacturing of intricate parts, which possess the required geometrical forms and dimensions, and the necessary mechanical properties such as strength, hardness, and certain stress behaviour. As this technology becomes more industry popular, applications will widen so design and process planning tools are required for making the process reliable and efficient

Despite the studies of many researchers, the AM practice is still in development stage with no clear recommendations and rules. It relies mainly on the staff experience and is based on the method of trial and error. Consequently, in many cases part design and building process is not efficient. This project is motivated by the limitations of the existing practices in design of parts for Direct Manufacturing (DM) and by the desire to use the full capabilities of the Layer Additive (LA) processes. The design process needs to encompass the specifics of LA process and its capabilities and to be able to use the design freedom provided by DM technologies.

The project aims to develop a novel design practice for Direct Manufacturing (DM) of metal functional parts/products. The emphasis in project objectives will be on the advantages that AM can bring to the products (new and existing) as new functions, new innovative design, better performance, reduced time to market and achieving the required accuracy. The project will develop a new design approach and collaborative decision-support tools in order to inspire SMEs around new product innovation research. Various design techniques will be investigated in the light of their suitability for AM applications and a new design strategy will be cultivated and verified through industrial case-studies.

The findings of this research will be embedded in a design and process planning platform for AM. Work will be undertaken using the equipment of the Future Technology Centre (FTC): Metal Laser Melting 3D Systems ProX300 system, high performance CAD/CAM systems and various test facilities like Zeiss 3D micro CT imaging. A successful applicant will hold a 1st or upper second degree in mechanical or manufacturing engineering or relevant discipline. Knowledge of solid modelling software and 3D printing is desirable.

Fees and funding

Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

2020/2021 entry (for October 2020 and February 2021 entries)

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a

International full-time students: £16,400 p/a

International part-time students: £8,200 p/a

PhD by Publication

External candidates £4,407 p/a

Members of staff £1,680 p/a*

2021/2022 entry (for October 2021 and February 2022 entries)

PhD and MPhil

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a* 

International full-time students: £17,600 p/a

International part-time students: £8,800 p/a

All fees are subject to annual increase.

PhD by Publication

External Candidates £4,407 p/a*

Members of Staff £1,720 p/a*

If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.

*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021. 

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an Civil Engineering or related area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

The candidate should have a UK Honours Degree at 2.1 (or equivalent) in Computing Science or related area. A good understanding of OpenCV and related programming skills are ideally preferred for shortlisting the candidates.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Mariana Dotcheva: ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code ENGN4660219.

When you're ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Mechanical and Design Engineering’ as the subject area. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  

Our How to Apply page also offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

October start

Apply now

February start

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