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Professor Ben Hicks

Director of Strategic Partnerships (UoB); Head of Engineering Systems and Design; Codirector of the Design and Manufacturing Futures Lab; Director of the EPSRC-funded Language of Collaborative Manufacturing Programme Grant, and the £1.6M EPSRC project on digital-physical twinning.

Ben’s research concerns tools and methods to support the design and improvement of products, machines and manufacturing systems. His research has resulted in the creation of new processes and methods for design management, methods for computer-based design and optimisation, approaches for managing manufacturing information and knowledge discovery, and techniques for modelling machine-material interaction.  

In addition to leading the ES&D group, 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. 

Research keywords

  • (Research) Design Management and Methods; Design Thinking; Constraint-Based Design and Optimisation; Machine Design; Fabrication; Tangible-Interfaces and Mixed Media Prototypes; Digital-Physical Twinning; Augmented and Mixed Reality; Self-Replicating Manufacturing Machines; Democratising Design; AI in Design and Manufacture; and
  • (Consultancy) Lean Thinking; Manufacturing Systems Improvement/Design; Changeover Reduction; Design Management; Condition Monitoring; BIM; Virtual Prototyping; High Speed Machinery Design/Redesign.