Personal profile

Research interests

Ben leads the Engineering Systems and Design institute ( comprising 20 academics and 40+ researchers working across six themes: digital manufacturing, energy systems, infrastructure systems, design technologies, design thinking and systems thinking.  

In addition to leading the ES&D institute, Ben is CoDirector of the Design & Manufacturing Futures Laboratory ( The lab is researching and creating the tools and technologies of tomorrow, providing game changing capability for the design, manufacture, operation and disposal of next generation products and machines. Projects include: constraint-based and topological optimisation; engineering project health monitoring; tangible interfaces and mixed media prototyping; augmented and mixed-reality; fabricative, additive and subtractive technologies; democratisation of design and manufacture; digital-physical twinning and revision control; and, manufacturing systems of the future.

Ben’s research focuses on product, machine and manufacturing system design. His major research contributions lie in four areas:

  1. Design Tools and Methods – The creation of tools, technologies and methods to improve the process by which products and machines are designed with a particular emphasis on sectorial methods, understanding design practice, improving design management and emerging technology.
  2. Computational Design and Optimisation – The creation of computational tools to enable the modelling, reasoning and optimisation of products and machines with a particular emphasis on constraint-based, generative and deep learning approaches.
  3. Machine and Manufacturing Systems Modelling – The creation of numerical models and modelling approaches to represent the interaction between production/manufacturing machines and the materials they handle with a particular emphasis on high-value manufacturing, and packaging, processing and pharmaceutical sectors.
  4. Engineering Informatics – The creation of tools and methods to support the capture and reuse of design and manufacturing information over the lifecycle, and the subsequent application of knowledge discovery techniques to generate new understanding and insight to inform design.


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