Funded PhD Studentship in Agile Procurement for Managing Advanced and Complex Manufacturing Supply Chains

  • DeadlineDeadline: 7 June 2024
  • All East Midlands, EnglandAll East Midlands, England


  • Application deadline: 7 Jun 2024
  • Award type(s): PhD
  • Start date: 30 Sep 2023
  • Duration of award: 3 years
  • Eligibility: UK, EU, Rest of World
  • Reference number: SOM0023

This is a unique research opportunity for an ambitious PhD candidate to develop new knowledge by conducting highly applied supply chain research in the field of advanced manufacturing and complex engineering systems. Funded jointly by two globally renowned organisations, Rolls-Royce and the Centre for Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management within Cranfield University's School of Management (SoM) the focus of this research is on developing new insights on how to cascade and deploy agile methodologies to sub-tiers in manufacturing supply chains for advanced engineering systems.

Agile methodology, originally used solely for software development, has evolved, and is now seen as a key success driver for many forms of New Product Development (NPD) (Cooper, 2019) and a real business need for designing and managing advanced manufacturing supply chains. However, there are challenges with scaling it up when individual teams must synchronize their activities and interface with others (Kirkert et al, 2016; Edison et al, 2022). Research to date has focused on scaling it up from the team-level to the firm- level, but not to the interfirm-level. A more agile approach to procurement practices, one that seeks to benefit both parties in the near and long term, has been conceptualised (Opelt, 2013; SAFe, 2021). Yet insight is lacking into its application and use.

To enable advanced engineering systems to be successfully developed, there must be a viable means of delivery including a fit for purpose supply chain design based on the use of agile methodologies which goes beyond the team and firm-level. Research on the use of agile methodologies at the interfirm-level (e.g. for procurement contracts) is scant and this research aims at developing new insights on how to cascade and deploy agile methodologies to sub-tiers in the supply chain.

The project aims to answer the following questions:

  • How the interfirm-level deployment of agile methodologies can be used in NPD for complex engineering systems (e.g. jet engines)?
  • How can the existing challenges of implementing agile methodologies in Procurement contracts for complex engineering systems can be overcome?

This research project is expected to make a significant academic and practical impact. More specifically the expected results are the following:

  • Improved knowledge and understanding of the interfirm-level deployment of agile methodologies in contractual mechanisms for advanced engineering systems.
  • Improved implementation of agile methodologies during sourcing and early supplier engagement in order to facilitate within firm (i.e. cross -functional) and interfirm (i.e. buyers and suppliers) learning using a gamified learning and training approach.

We are looking for a candidate with strong interest and research skills in supply chain management/engineering management studies with the potential of generating high-quality research outputs with significant implications for practice. The candidate needs to be enthusiastic, self-motivated and ambitious with a demonstrable passion for developing actionable research. The right student will be encouraged and supported in taking part in major international research conferences, subject to their submission being accepted.

1st Supervisor: Professor Aris Matopoulos

Sponsored by Rolls-Royce and Cranfield University, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £19,237 per year (tax free) plus fees* for three years.
This funding opportunity is open to UK and International students.

Cranfield Doctoral Network
Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

Please click here for further information including details of how to apply

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