Assessing the value-adding potential of selective feature customisation through hybrid digital fabrication. PhD

Entry requirements:
2:1 +
Not available
Reference number:
Start date:
October 2017
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
October 2017



in the UK for Design

Guardian University Guide 2018


in the UK for Design

The Complete University Guide 2018


in the world for Art and Design

QS World University Rankings by subject 2017


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

Product customisation has been shown to add value through an increased willingness to pay on the part of the consumer. However, customisation, even when undertaken through new digital fabrication methods, typically increases production costs and design complexity. It is therefore essential for designers to understand the value/cost ratio when determining which features should be customisable. This project will begin by analysing existing products from a number of sectors, to identify the types of features suitable for customisation by digital fabrication technologies. It will then compare the added design/production costs against the increased ‘willingness to pay’, with the intention of creating a cost/benefits model. A methodology will be developed to assist designers in identifying high value-adding features that are customisable within the capabilities of modular, hybrid manufacturing and assembly, i.e. by understanding the logistics of combining mass manufactured parts with customised, batch manufactured components.

The key output of the project will be the specification of a software tool for designers based on selected, high value-adding product features (the tool itself will not be developed during the PhD though a pilot demonstrator may be feasible).


Primary supervisor: Matt Sinclair

Secondary supervisor: Ian Campbell

Find out more

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in industrial design, engineering design, or a related subject. A relevant master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Industrial Design, Human Computer Interaction, Design for Manufacture.

All students must also meet the minimum English Language requirements.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. If you do not have funding, you may still apply, however Institutional funding is not guaranteed. Outstanding candidates (UK/EU/International) without funding will be considered for funding opportunities which may become available in the School.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name select Loughborough Design School. Please quote reference number: LDS/MSIC/2017