Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    PhD Studentship currently available for application! PhD research topic: Digital twin-enabled intelligent energy management for manufacturing systems towards Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing. Applicants should have a solid academic background in the related subjects, including smart manufacturing, mechanical engineering, advanced manufacturing, automation and control engineering, electromechanical engineering, computer science, energy engineering, etc. Knowledge and skills of smart manufacturing technologies, energy modelling, machine learning, deep learning, python programming, data communication and analytics are preferred. Please send me your CV if you are interested in applying for this PhD Studentship.

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    Personal profile

    Contact Details


    Phone: +44 755 122 3073


    Dr Chao Liu is a Lecturer in Digital Manufacturing at Aston University, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 2018. Before joining Aston University, Dr. Liu has worked as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has also worked on a Horizon2020 project as a Research Associate (Postdoc) in the School of Engineering at Cardiff University, UK.

    Dr Liu’s research focuses on both theoretical development and practical applications of various Smart Manufacturing technologies. His research interests cover a wide range of topics in Smart Manufacturing, including Digital Twin, Cyber-Physical Production Systems, Industrial Internet of Things, Machine Tools and Machining Processes, Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics, Augmented Reality, etc.

    Dr Liu has published more than 40 articles in High Impact Factor International Journals and International Conference Proceedings. He serves as Managing Guest Editor for Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Sensors, and Shock and Vibration. He serves as a reviewer for multiple high impact international journals including Journal of Manufacturing Systems, Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, International Journal of Production Research, Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, Advanced Engineering Informatics, etc. He has also organised and chaired multiple sessions in different international conferences.

    Research Interests

    • Smart Manufacturing, Digital Manufacturing, Industry 4.0
    • Digital Twin, Cyber-Physical Production Systems
    • Industrial Internet of Things
    • Machine Tools and Machining Processes
    • Machine Learning & Big Data Analytics
    • Augmented Reality
    • Metal Additive Manufacturing
    • Ultra-Precision Machining Technologies

    Funding Applications and Awards

    • Horizon EU Project: advancing Hydrogen (H2) technologies and smart production systems TO decarbonise the GLass and Aluminium SectorS (H2GLASS) (101092153-H2GLASS-HORIZON-CL4-2022-TWIN-TRANSITION-01, €481k/€24.45M, 2023-2027, Co-I)


    • Best Paper Award – Robotics and Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 2021. Yuqian Lu, Chao Liu, Kevin Kai Wang, Huiyue Huang, and Xun Xu. "Digital Twin-driven smart manufacturing: Connotation, reference model, applications and research issues." Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing 61 (2020): 101837.
    • Overall Winner – 2017 NAMRI/SME Student Research Presentation Award, 45th SME North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC 45), Los Angeles, USA, 06/2017.
    • Erasmus+ Grant3 months PhD research visit at Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia. 02/2018 – 05/2018.

    Professional/editorial offices

    • Member, SME (2020 - )
    • Managing Guest Editor, Special Issue on “Digitalization and servitization of machine tools in the era of Industry 4.0”, Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (12/2021 - )
    • Managing Guest Editor, Special Issue on “Advanced Sensing Technology and Data Analytics in Smart Manufacturing”, Sensors (06/2022 – )
    • Guest Editor, Special Issue on “Intelligent Diagnosis Methods for Initial Faults in Rotor-Bearing Systems”, Shock and Vibration (11.2020)

    Chair and member for international conferences

    • Organising Committee Chair, 27th IEEE International Conference on Automation and Computing (ICAC 2022), Bristol, UK (09.2022)
    • Organising Committee member, 48th International conference on Computers & Industrial Engineering (CIE 48), Auckland, New Zealand (12.2018)
    • Session Chair, 2nd Digital Twin International Conference, Sydney, Australia (09.2022)
    • Session Chair, CIRP International Conference on Manufacturing Systems (CMS 2022), Lugano, Switzerland (07.2022)
    • Session co-organiser & chair, Special Session on “Digital Twin: Theories, challenges, methodologies and applications”, 48th International conference on Computers & Industrial Engineering (CIE 48) (12.2018)

    Education/Academic qualification

    PhD, University of Auckland


    MSc, Northeastern University China


    BSc, Northeastern University China


    External positions

    Research Assistant Professor, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

    Aug 2020Dec 2021

    Postdoctoral Research Associate, Cardiff University

    May 2019Aug 2020


    • TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
    • Smart Manufacturing
    • Digital Manufacturing
    • Industry 4.0
    • Digital Twin
    • Machine Tools
    • Machine learning
    • Internet of Things
    • Cyber-Physical Production System
    • Augmented Reality
    • Metal Additive Manufacturing
    • Ultra Precision Machining


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