Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for luxury yacht manufacture

Applications are invited for an industrially-sponsored three-year PhD studentship.


To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Mechanical Engineering, then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Before applying, please ensure you have read the Doctoral College’s general information on applying for a research degree.

For more information on the admissions process please contact

Director of Studies:  John Summerscales

2nd Supervisor: Richard Pemberton 

3rd Supervisor: Jasper Graham-Jones

Industrial Supervisor: Laura Parry, Environmental and Compliance Officer, Princess Yachts.

Applications are invited for an industrially-sponsored three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2021.

Project Description

Princess Yachts, a leading British luxury yacht manufacturer, will sponsor this PhD studentship. The company seek to enhance their environmental credentials by understanding, then minimising, the environmental burdens imposed by their operations. The research will analyse material flows within the production facility for fibreglass composite structures, fitted out with premium quality materials.

The Sustainable Earth Institute at the University of Plymouth brings researchers together with businesses to develop cutting-edge research and innovative approaches that build resilience to global challenges. The MAterials and STructures (MAST) Research Group explores many aspects of structural, mechanical, marine, composites and civil engineering, and hosts the academic team who will supervise the project. The MAST Composites Engineering Group has a long history of research on fibre-reinforced composites having incorporated the activities of the renowned Advanced Composites Manufacturing Centre (ACMC).

The principal methodology for the research will be Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and will look to develop systems which balance the competing economic and environmental drivers. The successful candidate will initially be expected to evaluate LCA software options and then recommend the tool most suitable for Princess Yachts.

Liaising with a vibrant supervision team, the student will assess which boat line should take priority for the process mapping and then establish the methodology for analysis of that product leading to quantified improvements. The company are keen to embed the methodology into the New Product Development process and enthusiastic that work carried out is communicated by the candidate internally to help drive positive change.  


Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc, MEng, MRes or ResM qualification.

The studentship will be supported for 3 years and includes full tuition fees plus a stipend of £17,000 to £20,000 per annum (depending on candidate qualifications and experience).

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact John Summerscales

Please view the list of supporting documents to upload with your application.

For more information on the admissions process contact  

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Friday 13 August 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview during August 2021. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of an interview by 31 August 2021 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.