View All Vacancies

PhD Scholarship in Development of novel non pneumatic tyres to improve comfort and energy efficiency of wheelchairs

School of Digital, Technologies & Arts

Location:  Stoke campus
Salary:   £20,000 per annum
Tenure:   Fixed term for 3 years
Release Date:  Tuesday 16 June 2020
Closing Date:   Friday 17 July 2020
Reference:  DTA-PHD-EGP

An exciting opportunity to study for a fully funded doctorate whilst gaining valuable industry experience.

About the role

Staffordshire University has been awarded a European Regional Development Fund grant entitled SAMPID (Staffordshire Advanced Manufacturing, Prototyping and Innovation Demonstrator). The aim of the project is to support local companies with product design, prototyping, innovation, process engineering and development of new physical products and product components. The intended benefit of SAMPID is to lead to new and better performing products and increased utilisation of advanced and modern manufacturing methods, technologies and processes. Such improvements will drive growth of SMEs within Staffordshire and enable them to enter new markets and grow within existing markets, thereby improving productivity. As part of the project and to develop long term innovation we are seeking to recruit three Research and Innovation Analysts who will undertake a fully funded PhD to develop long term innovation.

The project

Non-pneumatic tyres are used in a number of applications due to their superior performance in terms of suspension, handling, comfort, weight and safety.  However, in the area of personal mobility and in particular wheelchairs, pneumatic and solid tyres still dominate. This PhD will research advanced finite element analysis techniques together with manufacturing and prototyping methods to design and optimise non-pneumatic tyres for wheelchairs by tuning their vertical and shear stiffness. This will be the first time that non-pneumatic tyres will be designed for wheelchairs and will have the potential to substantially improve the energy efficiency and comfort.

About you

We are looking for a minimum upper second class undergraduate or good Masters degree in a relevant engineering or physical sciences subject area. Strong engineering background with MEng/MSc in a relevant area and experience in Finite Element Analysis are essential for the successful completion of this project. Experience in the combined use of modelling and mechanical testing, experience in the study of tyres, experience in advanced manufacturing/prototyping methods or experience working with industry will be considered an advantage. Please provide evidence of the relevance of your degree and experience to the proposed project in the application.

You must have good written and oral communication skills.


Funding is available for 3 years depending on satisfactory progress and meeting expectations of engagement with the SAMPID project. The funding will provide a £20k stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) per annum (subject to appropriate inflationary increase each year) plus £5k per annum research expenses.  Home/EU PhD fees will be waived for suitably qualified candidates.

It is a condition of the funding that students must actively engage with the wider aims of the SAMPID project which will include assisting local businesses within the project. The research undertaken, as described above, fits within the remit of SAMPID and will form most of this engagement. In addition, students will be expected to 

  • support undergraduate and Masters students undertaking projects with local companies; and
  • contribute to wider innovation and knowledge transfer work within the remit of SAMPID.

The funding and associated fee waiver is available to suitably qualified home/EU students.


  • Primary supervisor: 

Dr Evangelia Ganniari-Papageorgiou, School of Digital, Technologies & Arts.

  • Co-supervisors: 

Prof. Nachiappan Chockalingam, School of Life Sciences and Education.

Dr Alison Griffiths, School of Digital, Technologies & Arts.

About us

This is an exciting time to join Staffordshire University. We have risen exponentially in university league tables, recently making 37 in the Guardian League Table, and we are delighted to have achieved TEF Gold. The University is recognised for the high quality of the provision of a broad portfolio of on-campus, off-campus, blended and distance learning undergraduate and postgraduate courses. We also have strong partnerships with employers and placement providers from a range of sectors. Research activity is an integral part of the University's business and we are committed to enabling staff to engage in a wide range of research and scholarship. 

How to apply

As an initial step, informal enquiries about the project are encouraged and should be addressed to the primary supervisor Dr Evangelia Ganniari-Papageorgiou (

If the supervisory team wish to pursue your enquiry, they will then provide you with the apply link and encourage you to submit an online application through the central university postgraduate application portal.

Please quote SAMPID PhD, the associated project title and supervisory team at the top of the Research Proposal section of the application form. Please also include a personal statement describing your background and skills relevant to the project and your plan for a successful research programme (2,000 word maximum). This can be uploaded as a pdf in the documents section as an alternative. Please also ensure you upload copies of your qualifications with your application.

Candidates will be shortlisted and interviews will be conducted as soon as possible after the application deadline.  All candidates will subsequently be notified of the outcome.

Application deadline: Friday 17th July 2020

Email details to a friend



Forgotten Details