Aerodynamic Digital Twin Development for Aircraft Validation and Certification


An opportunity has arisen to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the School of Engineering, UWE Bristol.  The studentship will be funded by the Empire Test Pilot School, QinetiQ: 

The expected start date of this studentship is 1 January 2023.

The closing date for applications is 1 December 2022.

Ref 2223-JAN-FET18

Studentship details

The design and certification of new aircraft currently relies on a significant period of flight testing. During this activity the new aircraft is flown across its flight envelope ensuring its behaviour is investigated in all aspects. Thus, the flight test programme can be expensive in terms of cost and time, as well as at times putting the pilot at increased personal risk. There is therefore a need to reduce the risks, flight time and costs of flight testing whilst using the advances in simulation to substitute in part for flight testing. 

This PhD, in collaboration with the Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS) and Osnabrueck University of Applied Sciences, aims to use simulation for aircraft validation and certification through greater use of technical software and flight simulation. 

The focus of the PhD is to reduce the reliance on flight data through increased reliability of simulation data. This advancement will come through developing new approaches for data fusion and modelling, e.g. using state of the art CFD software; combining multi-fidelity data; and applying semi-empirical approaches, statistical algorithms and artificial intelligence. The student would be involved in all aspects of the project including the aerodynamic data generation and fusion; interpretation of flight test data; and the improvement and use of real time data for flight simulators. 

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Dr. Chris Toomer.


The studentship is available from 1 January 2023 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which is currently £17,668 per annum. 

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years. 


The studentship is eligible only for applicants from the UK and European students.

Applicants must have a good undergraduate degree in a relevant technical discipline. Candidates who have completed or in the process of completing by the end of 2022 an MSc or MEng in either engineering, mathematics or physics are particularly encouraged to apply. 

Knowledge of software for aerodynamics and competence in coding is required (e.g. in python or C or Fortran).Experience in flying, flight testing or flight simulation would be useful.

A recognised English language qualification is required.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2223-JAN-FET18

You will need to upload a covering letter, your degree certificates and transcripts and your proof of English language proficiency as attachments to your application so please have these available when you complete the application form.


You will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application. At least one referee must be an academic referee from the institution that conferred your highest degree. Your referee will be asked for a reference at the time you submit your application, so please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references within 14 days of your application being submitted.

Closing Date

The closing date for applications is 1 December 2022

Further Information

Interviews will take place week commencing in December.  If you have not heard from us by 1st January, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.


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