PhD Scholarship: The role of frugal engineering, artificial intelligence and sustainability approaches in new product development

March 7, 2022

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Publication date:  Mar 3, 2022
Position-ID: 627
Faculty: Advanced Manufacturing Engineering (GSaME) 
Research Association: N/A 
Teaching Obligation: No 
Application deadline: 03/31/2022
Anticipated Start Date:  05/01/2022   
About Us

The Graduate School GSaME (Graduate School of Excellence advanced Manufacturing Engineering) was founded within the scope of the German Exzellenzinitiative and established as the central scientific institution of the University of Stuttgart in 2007. It´s mission is to qualify doctoral students in the interdisciplinary topic advanced Manufacturing Engineering (aME) with respect to cutting-edge and application-oriented research and training. To achieve these goals, the GSaME has established a specific doctoral program and transferred the dual system to the doctoral phase with alternating phases of theoretical qualification and research practice. The doctoral students carry out their independent scientific research projects in the field of advanced Manufacturing Engineering (aME), focusing on interdisciplinary key technologies for the implementation of innovation at the interfaces between engineering, computer sciences, organization and management.

Your Tasks

Research topic:

B2-014 - From ideation to manufacturing: The role of frugal engineering, artificial intelligence and sustainability approaches in new product development

Thesis Committee:
Prof. Dr. Alexander Brem (ENI)


Introduction and Purpose:

The competition for new products is extremely tough throughout all industries. With the rise of emerging markets, the phenomenon of frugal innovation became popular also beyond these markets. At the same time, the rise of artificial intelligence and its applications changes our understanding of how to develop new products. Moreover, last but not least, the sustainability movement leads to a mindset change on technology and innovation management in companies. So how do these developments change innovation processes?


Relevance of the research topic:

Before this background, this project focuses on rethinking our understanding of innovation through an investigation of processes from an idea to manufactured products, using the perspectives of frugal engineering, artificial intelligence, and sustainability approaches. Frugal Engineering describes a process-oriented approach to adapt existing technologies to local challenges by dint of the integration of the local society in order to reduce inherent development costs and time. It is still unknown whether specific processes, guidelines, or methodologies can be followed for developing successful frugal innovations based on resource constraints. So frugal principles could be integrated into the R&D processes from ideation to production. Artificial Intelligence applications are also changing how companies develop new products. With the usage of artificial intelligence in the front-end and back-end of innovation, established technology-push and market-pull principles must be rethought: creativity and prototyping in the early phases, manufacturing and project management in later phases. A higher level of automated processes will also create new human work opportunities that were not possible before. Last but not least, the current wave of sustainability also creates opportunities in new product development for rethinking of concepts, from the circular economy and eco-innovation approaches in product design to environmentally friendly production strategies. 


Scientific objectives:

Systematization of Frugal Engineering, AI and sustainability in a new product development context, Analysis of Frugal Engineering, AI and sustainability principles and best practices, Empirical testing of related approaches and principles, Development of a toolbox for companies to connect frugal engineering, artificial intelligence and sustainability for a successful technology and innovation management of the future.

Your Profile
  • A Master’s or equivalent university degree in the field of the research topic
  • Conformance to the requirements of the doctoral regulations of the University of Stuttgart in the relevant version as well as the GSaME admission requirements (more)
  • Knowledge in the research topic 
  • Willingness to learn continuously the necessary expertise
  • Advanced German and English language proficiency (C1)
  • Creativity, scientific curiosity, good organizational skills, cooperation and communication skills, full commitment


Our Benefits
  • Optimal doctoral conditions for a degree within 3 years
  • A specific training and practice-relevant qualification program
  • Individual supervision and a leadership-promoting doctoral culture
  • Personal equipment at the workplace
  • Cutting-edge academic and industrial research in the field of advanced Manufacturing Engineering
  • Cooperation with excellent university institutes, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and partners from the private (industrial) sector 

Employment and compensation information
Maximal Funding Period or Duration of Employment: 48 Monate  
Type of Funding: Scholarship 
Compensation:  €1.468,00 
Percentage of weekly working hours (usually 39.5h = 100%): 100% 
Employment at the cooperation partner: No 
Location: Stuttgart, Campus Vaihingen 
If Location other than Stuttgart or additional location(s):
Contact Details
Contact person: Gabriele Erhardt 
Phone: +49 711 685 61801 

At the University of Stuttgart, we actively promote diversity among our employees. We have set ourselves the goal of recruiting more female scientists and employing more people with an international background, as well as people with disabilities. We are therefore particularly pleased to receive applications from such people. Regardless, we welcome any good application. 

Women who apply will be given preferential consideration in areas in which they are underrepresented, provided they have the same aptitude, qualifications and professional performance. Severely disabled applicants with equal qualifications will be given priority.

As a certified family-friendly university, we support the compatibility of work and family, and of professional and private life in general, through various flexible modules. We have an employee health management system that has won several awards and offer our employees a wide range of continuing education programs. We are consistantly improving our accessibility. Our Welcome Center helps international scientists get started in Stuttgart. We support partners of new professors and managers with a dual-career program.

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Apply now


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Melanie Minderjahn

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