2 Funded Vice-Chancellors Scholarships in Inclusive Engineering; People to Products

Loughborough University


Presently, there are still, lower proportions of engineering students and professionals that are female; with declared disability; from low-socioeconomic; or ethnic minority backgrounds.

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) challenges are compounded by increased risk of poorer Higher Education outcomes, higher unemployment, and reduced translation into management. It is anticipated the next decade will bring further challenges given some of these groups have also been hardest hit by the Covid pandemic.

Tackling engineering skills shortages is a business imperative for the future of engineering. To inspire a diverse pool of future engineers, research needs to span education, industry and end-users.

The Inclusive Engineering; People to Products PhDs are part of a vibrant, interdisciplinary research cluster that aims to change the way future engineers are inspired to develop inclusive engineering products and services across a wide range of engineering disciplines. The PhDs join a research team working together across the Loughborough Engineering Schools, supported by the Inclusive Engineering Excellence Hub team of academic staff.

The overarching theme of the Inclusive Engineering; People to Products research cluster is to develop future leaders in engineering with expertise in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) practices within engineering research and technology development.


Companies and universities are seeking EDI champions and leaders in engineering. Fully-funded scholarships are available to students from diverse engineering backgrounds in data analytics, computer science, social sciences and sociology to work on interconnected projects.

These studentships will develop diverse future leaders with expertise in EDI practices within engineering research and technology development at the discipline level.

In collaboration with industry partners, we are developing the scope for our cluster projects. We consider a wide range of perspectives and voices contributing to project design to improve diversification in the research, enabling effective research action plans and developing an inclusive research culture.

This is an open call PhD focusing on the development of virtual reality simulations for accessible, inclusive, experiential and flexible training products and services, with emphasis on transitioning into industry – including evaluation of skills required by industry for success – to promote diversity and inclusion in transition to and retention within industrial settings.

An example proposal might be: “Investigating virtual reality simulation and remote laboratories for levelling up training for and transition into industrial settings.” The Supervisory Team, in this example, would be Dr Sheryl Williams and Dr Elizabeth Ratcliffe.

You would investigate capabilities to enable interactive, non-timebound and risk-free training that does not rely on specialist lab facility access, preparation of specialist consumables and expert support for individual training sessions. Assess improvements in the costs associated with high volume lab usage (eg. financial, energy, single-use plastics, specialist products) and performance at the point of getting hands-on. Investigate inclusivity of training tools for evaluation of technical skills – emphasising candidate potential – to promote diversity and inclusion in transition to industry.

If you have an interesting idea for a research project you would like to undertake, we welcome proposals from students for co-designing projects.


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

There are 2 PhD studentships available working across the Loughborough Engineering Schools.

The studentship is for three years full-time or six years part-time and provides a tax-free stipend of £17,668 per annum (pro rata for the part-time) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees. UK Home and international applicants are both eligible for this award. Please note that the studentship will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project. Funding decisions will not be confirmed until July/August 2023.

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