Research a Disruptive Design Lead Engineering Methodology to Exploit Emerging Technologies for an SME to Change to Industry 4.0

Location: Newcastle, NSW

Duration: 5 months

Project Background

Varley Group, with a staff of over 900, is now a 133-year-old Newcastle company delivering vehicle and defence products to customer’s bespoke requirements. Engineering design activities follow well-established system engineering processes that reflect current manual manufacturing techniques. These processes are typically lengthy and costly; both factors which contribute to a loss of competiveness and future relevance.

Varley is an innovative engineering and manufacturing company in many fields. These fields include Defence and Aerospace, Marine, Rail and Power Services, Emergency and Rescue Vehicles as well as Electric Vehicles.

Varley recognises that technology is changing and that adoption of techniques leading to Industry 4.0 best-practice will maintain a competitive edge continuing the company’s longevity.

Varley require a PhD intern to research and propose its futures design lead processes.

Research to be Conducted

Research will cover:

  • Research current in-house practices generating design output
  • Research international best-practice in design methodology & processes
  • Propose a new future design lead process to reduce time and cost for design output

Resources required will include:

  • Varley Project Managers
  • Access to internal design performance data
  • Access to key Varley design staff

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following:


  • Interest or research in Computer added manufacturing, Cloud computing & Industry 4.0
  • Strong communication, problem solving and time management skills; and a strategic thinker


  • Understanding of data analytics and IOT
  • Understanding of new technology innovation platforms and agile business models

Expected Outcomes

  • A recommendation on technology tools to investigate that may lead to productivity gains.
  • A recommendation for design lead process change that should future proof small run bespoke manufacturing.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

2 October 2019


APR -1171