PhD Scholarship Opportunity: ARC Training Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing - Tenders Global

PhD Scholarship Opportunity: ARC Training Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing

University of Adelaide

IMPORTANT: This application is an “Expression of Interest” only because this is an externally funded award and the University has not yet secured the relevant funding from the external partner, although negotiations have commenced.

If funding is secured on terms satisfactory to the University, the successful applicant will then be issued with a formal offer letter. However, the University is under no obligation to provide the advertised EOI scholarship if funding is not secured from the external partner, in which case, all applicants will be notified.

The University makes no guarantees, representations or warranties that the scholarship as advertised will proceed. You should seek independent advice in relation to any significant decisions that you intend to make in reliance on this advertisement.

ARC Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing Scholarships

Are you ready to be a part of the cutting edge of the digital transformation in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) sector? Join the ARC Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing, an exciting collaboration between 3 Australian universities and a consortium of leading architectural design and engineering practices and professional bodies. We are seeking the next generation of leaders who will drive innovation in the sector through digitisation.

As a PhD Candidate in our Centre, you will receive specialised training in the digital technologies that are shaping the future of practice. You will conduct collaborative, cutting-edge research on interconnected themes that will unlock the potential of new and existing data. You will have the opportunity to develop more effective workflows, tools, and software, and contribute to sector-directed educational content that will uplift the digital skills and commercial opportunities of Australian Architecture, Engineering, and Construction.

About the Scholarship

We are offering four PhD scholarships at University of Adelaide, and with that, the exciting and rare opportunity to be part of a collaborative, cross-university research cohort. You will be joining a group of 25 PhD candidates and 3 postdoctoral fellows working together to address some of the sector’s most pressing challenges.

Each PhD Candidate will have the unique opportunity to work closely with industry partner firms in an embedded mode, based within their offices for varying periods of time. Our industry partners include renowned firms Architectus, Bollinger + Grohmann, Cox, Grimshaw, and Tzannes, who will provide you with real-world experience, exposure to cutting-edge projects, and exciting employment prospects at PhD completion.

Additionally, you will have access to domain experts in partnering international institutions University College London, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia Barcelona, and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Copenhagen, further enhancing your research and networking opportunities.

The scholarship offers $32,500 over 3 years, with the potential for top-up scholarships and onsite industry training, providing you with financial support and professional development opportunities.

The timeline for commencing your PhD varies, with multiple start dates available 2024, allowing you to choose a timeline that fits your needs and availability.

About the Labs

Our Centre comprises three labs, each targeting different challenges in digitising the AEC sector: Synthesis Lab, Management Lab, and Analytics Lab. In the Expression of Interest form, you will be asked to select your preferred research topics from the list below.

Potential supervisors include Prof Jane Burry, Prof Jian Zuo, Prof Veronica Soebarto, Dr Ruidong Chan, and Dr David Kroll.

The Synthesis Lab focuses on the integration of creative operational processes and practices in design, developing more efficient, reliable, and effective workflows, software, and tools to leverage data and automation in Architecture, Design, and Engineering.

Synthesis Topic 1: How can automation be leveraged in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) sector to achieve project goals and preserve knowledge?

The topic may include consideration of: opportunities to enable automation; and approaches preserving knowledge via optimal sharing, management mechanisms, and system architectures, considering resources, waste, carbon, time, budget, and benefits goals.

Synthesis Topic 2: How can computational methods, machine learning, and artificial intelligence be used to enhance sustainability outcomes and optimise value creation in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) sector?

This topic may include consideration of: computational methods, machine learning, and artificial intelligence insights to help the AEC sector overcome challenges that consider key decision factors around resource use, carbon emissions, waste production, project timelines, project budgets, and project benefits; how manufacturing information databases and systems can be leveraged to inform decision-making across key aspects of sustainable built assets.

Synthesis Topic 3: How can technology be used in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) sector to optimise data organisation, collaboration, and content sharing?

This topic may include consideration of: the challenges and opportunities of contemporary modelling tools and structures; the roles of artificial intelligence and machine learning in modelling; and collaboration and organisation strategies for teams working on shared models.

Synthesis Topic 6: How to facilitate a data-led approach to Modern Methods of Construction to revolutionise design and production processes in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) sector?

This topic may include consideration of: the nature of correspondence between key stakeholders in a given project; the back-end technical gaps and challenges in data exchange between different actors in the value chain; opportunities for and approaches to developing holistic component databases to better facilitate data-informed, production-focused design decisions.

Synthesis Topic 7: How can historic AEC data be leveraged to achieve more sustainable and efficient future projects?

This topic may include consideration of: how ‘wicked’ goals might be established in building projects around resource consumption, waste production, carbon emissions, time, budget, and benefit objectives; how past project performance might be evaluated within these goals; identifying who should be setting new, sustainability-focused productivity and cost goals and how to enable them, and ensuring quality assurance in shared architectural models.

The Management Lab explores new business and commercial potentials arising from digital transformation processes in Architecture, Design, and Engineering; rethinking traditional business models and developing strategies to invest in technology for maximum financial returns.

Management Topic 1: What factors in the AEC work environment help and hinder knowledge flows and digital innovation within and between teams and projects?

This topic may include: an examination of tools that impact knowledge flows and innovation; an investigation of multi-team systems; and an exploration of how systems thinking and strategic foresight research might be integrated to create a comprehensive framework for retaining and transferring knowledge between projects.

Management Topic 2: What are the learning mechanisms and change processes in AEC organisations that facilitate or hinder organisational performance outcomes – including digital transformation?

This topic may include: consideration of barriers to learning in construction workflows both within and across organisations; the impact of training courses; and a broad exploration of how organisational learning affects behaviour (for example, procedures and activities) and performance (such as sustainability).

Management Topic 4: What are the potential scenarios for the future of the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction sector, and what proactive measures should organisations take to prepare for them?

This topic may include consideration of: forces impacting the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction sector; what capabilities and practices are needed for future thinking; and how organisations benefit from developing them.

Management Topic 5: How can those involved in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction sector (organisations, regulators, industry bodies, etc.) shape its future by transforming the way the sector works (considering both demands and forces)?

This topic may include consideration of: how the sector has evolved over the past few decades; how AEC professions have changed over the past few decades; and an exploration of what it will mean to be an architect, engineer, or construction manager in the future.

Management Topic 6: How can Architecture, Engineering, and Construction organisations develop digital capabilities and information systems for efficient delivery and overcome challenges in digital transformation?

This topic may include consideration of: the opportunities and challenges that organisations face when developing digital capability; as well as the development of digital maturity models for AEC organisations.

Management Topic 7: How will the increasing sustainability pressures shape the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction sector and its business models, specifically considering the building life cycle? 

This topic may include consideration of initiatives that can accelerate digital sustainability in the sector and reach sustainability goals.

The Analytics Lab focuses on leveraging data used in architectural design and engineering businesses, using big data analysis, automation, and machine learning to extrapolate future patterns and develop new knowledge and models.

Analytics Topic 1: How is design knowledge embedded in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction sector data (BIM, CAD, etc.) and what methods (for example, artificial intelligence, machine learning) are available for harvesting design data embedded in past projects?

This topic may include consideration of: the usefulness of design data and its security; along with legal, ethical, and commercial challenges to using design data.

Analytics Topic 6: What are the barriers to adopting new technology, and what are the implications for individuals, teams, and managers when an organisation adopts a new technology?

This topic covers issues of: accessibility, training, communication, and cost of the use of technology for design and fabrication; and may include visualising social connections and interfaces to support technology adoption in architectural manufacturing.

Analytics Topic 7: What digital twin concepts exist outside the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction sector and how can they assist a simulation of architectural manufacturing prior to construction?

This topic may include consideration of: the value propositions for simulating manufacturing during the design process, as well as the infrastructure and resources needed for computationally intensive simulation of architectural manufacturing.

More about the Centre

The ARC Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing is a collaborative initiative between UNSW, Swinburne University of Technology, and University of Adelaide. The Centre has been funded for 5 years by the Australian Research Council. The Centre will fund 25 PhD candidates and 3 postdoctoral fellows to investigate the most pressing issues facing the AEC sector today.

Join us at the forefront of the digital transformation in the AEC industry, where you will have the opportunity to make a real impact, work with industry leaders, collaborate with fellow researchers, and contribute to cutting-edge research projects. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to be part of the next generation of leaders in shaping the future of architectural design and engineering through digitisation.


Applicants must meet admission requirements for a PhD degree at the University of Adelaide. More information here:

Applying: Expression of Interest

Expressions of Interest should be submitted via this form by no later than 21st January 2024. Please ensure you include all of the following documents:

  • Cover letter and CV formatted using University of Adelaide’s template:
  • Evidence of Australian or New Zealand citizenship, or Australian permanent resident status (if applicable)
  • Academic transcripts (including the grading scale page)
  • Degree certificates (testamurs)
  • Translations of all documents not in English
  • Evidence of English language proficiency. More information can be found here:
  • A mini-proposal that addresses the following in maximum 1500 words:
    • A brief literature review to set the context for the research problem (refer to and properly cite 5 publications, in the citation style of your choosing). 
    • A description of the research problem and why it is important. 
    • A summary of the research activities one might undertake to address the research problem (keeping in mind the industry partners of the Centre). 

*We understand that Microsoft Forms may not be accessible to people in some countries. If you are unable to access this form, please contact us at [email protected] so that we can organise an alternative option for you to submit your Expression of Interest.

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