Digital technologies and business model innovations for the circular economy, Engineering Management – PhD Ref: 3036

About the award

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in Sep 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.  For eligible students the studentship will cover tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,553 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.  The student would be based in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.


Streatham Campus, Exeter, UK

Academic Supervisors:
Dr Miying Yang, University of Exeter

Project Description:

Digital technologies and business model innovations for the circular economy

Most of the current production and consumption systems are linear, adopting a “take, make and dispose” model and thereby contributing to the depletion of natural resources. To achieve sustainable growth, firms need to shift from linear to circular economy models. Circular economy refers to an industrial system that is “restorative and regenerative by design” according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The circular economy requires firms to develop disruptive technologies or business models that can improve the circularity of the supply chains through activities of reduce, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishment and recycling. Also, making supply chains circular cannot be achieved by a specific firm. It requires collaboration between organisations across the supply chains and other stakeholders from similar and/or diverse sectors.
This project will investigate how to use disruptive digital technologies (e.g. internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, 3D printing and cloud computing) to achieve circular economy; and which new business models and innovation strategies are required for circular economy. The project will also develop practical tools to support intelligent design of circular economy models.

The suitable candidate will have demonstrable skills of engineering or computer science and with interest in the management field.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 22 March 2018.

This award provides annual funding to cover tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  The award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,777 per year tax-free stipend.
The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in Sep 2018.


Application deadline:22nd March 2018
Number of awards:1
Value:14777 for 3.5 yrs
Duration of award:per year
Contact: EMPS PGR Team +44 (0) 1392

How to apply

Entry requirements:

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area engineering/computer science/management. 

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable see

How to apply
In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents. 
• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Research proposal
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English

The closing date for applications is midnight on 22 March 2018.  Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus to commence in Sep 2018.
If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 722730.  Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor.