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Development of Design Support Systems and Tools for Distributed Manufacturing

With the ongoing efforts in supply chain resilience, manufacturers are slowly beginning to shift to de-risking their manufacturing strategy by onshoring and re-establishing some of their operations in a more 'closely knit' design for manufacturing communities.

Product design in the areas of assistive technologies, medical devices, multi-domestic products and high value bespoke engineered solutions have already identified massive gains in efficiency from adopting some of these types of strategies.

Not only does this allow them to be seen as more sustainable, ethically sound and economically viable, but can significantly increase product to market speeds and add substantial value from giving customers, and end users more control over product features and higher levels of customisation and inclusion.

The project is looking for a competent candidate with a background in design (mechanical engineering, IT, business, creative electronics). You will develop a framework and methodology that can enable designers, end users, and manufacturers to utilise digital design technologies. This in turn will allow more rapid, cost-effective development of design solutions, that can be sustainable and locally resourced.  

You will develop a feasible demonstrator utilising knowledge from the domains of DFMA (Design for Manufacture and Assembly), DFX (Design for X), and DFDM (Design for Distributed Manufacturing) that can allow more seamless progression of product development based on developing a deep understanding the UK's Manufacturing Industry. You will also explore innovative technologies like 3D printing, manufacturing automation and robotics, open source, inclusive design and knowledge management approaches to complete the project.


2020, Jagjit Singh Srai, Gary Graham, Patrick Hennelly, Wendy Phillips, Dharm Kapletia, Harri Lorentz, Distributed manufacturing: a new form of localised production?, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, access from

2019, Mohammed El Souri, James Gao, Clive Simmonds, Integrating Manufacturing Knowledge with Design Process to Improve Quality in the Aerospace Industry, Procedia CIRP, Volume 84, access from

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)

Mohammed Elsouri - Mohammed Elsouri is currently a lecturer in Computer Based Design Methods at Brunel. He is an experienced design engineer having worked in the medical devices and the aerospace sector for many years. He recently developed an automated environmental testing facility using industrial robots in collaboration with BAE Systems, Medway, UK (through GRE Research Capital Investment Fund 2017-2019). Mohammed lectured Engineering Design at University of Greenwich between 2018 and 2022 after completing a PGCert HE in 2018, and has mainly taught CAD/CAM/CAE, Research Methods, and Product Development. He was a founding member of a new MSc programme in Product Design Engineering at UoG 2019 and worked on developing a number of degree apprenticeship programmes throughout his career. Mohammed achieved his PhD in Applied Engineering through the prestigious EPSRC iCase PhD Scholarship Award 2015-2018 in collaboration with BAE Systems. He has managed a large  interdisciplinary project involving collaborative robotics in manufacturing ( through the European Regional Development Fund 2020 focusing on SME technology adoption in the French-England Channel region. He is a Brunel University London Alumni having completed an MSc in Integrated Product Design and BSc Industrial Design (Hons) in 2011, and 2010. Mohammed is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET).