Digital Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) in Industrialised Construction (KTP Associate)

Requisition ID:  26808

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  21 Mar 2024


Salary: £40,000 (plus substantial training budget) per annum.


Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.


Closing Date: 18 April 2024



The role


Merit Holdings Ltd. and Newcastle University are offering an exciting opportunity to implement a new solution for advancing the digitalisation and automation of the design processes and their interfaces with manufacturing and other business functions.

Merit is one of the UK’s leading offsite construction specialists for technically complex and low-carbon emission buildings, and excels in providing high-quality facilities for the healthcare, pharmaceutical and bioscience sectors. Leveraging the Industrialised Construction (IC) approach, Merit has demonstrated its capability to reduce the on-site construction activities and time while improving the overall productivity and profitability for clients.


The KTP aim is to advance the digital Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) processes by automating the design processes and integrating them with procurement processes and the downstream manufacturing and assembly processes.


Based at Merit Holdings Ltd, Cramlington, you will lead a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project. You will lead on the implementation of this project transforming Merit’s industrialised construction approach through smart digitalisation and automation of design and manufacturing processes using knowledge-based engineering and DfMA methods. You will be supported by an interdisciplinary team from Newcastle University, led by Prof Mohamad Kassem, with expertise in digital construction, construction informatics, software engineering, robotics, and control. You will have also support from a Senior Company Supervisor. You will also interface at a later stage in the project and work with another KTP Associate specialised in Industrial Automation.   


You will capture up-to-date domain knowledge about existing digital DfMA using a knowledge-based engineering methodology and develop ways for automating and integrating such processes with procurement/estimation and production/manufacturing processes. You will have access to some of the most advanced digital design and planning tools within the industry.


Candidates should have MSc or PhD in Design / Computational Design, Architectural Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Computer Science, Software Engineering, or a related discipline.




  • Develop managerial skills and attend two residential managerial workshops (each of one week duration)
  • £4,000 personal training budget
  • The opportunity to lead a project, develop project management skills and improve long term career prospects
  • Mentoring by a Knowledge Transfer Network Adviser
  • Full access to university resources to complete the project
  • Ability to work in a largely self-determined way, across the industry-academic partnership
  • Opportunities to develop both technical understanding and commercial awareness
  • The possibility to study for a higher degree or undertake professional development


The KTP Associate will be an employee of Newcastle University but will spend most of their working time at the company’s premises at 8 Silverton Court, Northumberland Business Park, Cramlington, NE23 7RY and when required at Newcastle University. Although the contract is fixed term for a duration of 2 years, more than 70% of KTP staff gain a permanent job offer by their KTP company.


For more information or informal enquiries, please contact Prof Mohamad Kassem ( and Dr Xiang Xie (


For further details on the Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering please visit our web page at: 

For further details about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships please visit the web page at:


Key Tasks


  • Undertake personal development activities including on-boarding familiarisation with the company (particularly understanding Merit’s products, challenges, and strategic priorities) and university (KB team)
  • Capture and represent the summarised domain knowledge for the design, manufacture, and assembly of Merit’s products across their lifecycle
  • Develop specification for the automated Digital DfMA and apply knowledge-based engineering methodologies to optimise efficiency and effectiveness of offsite construction design and manufacturing processes
  • Prototype and test the automated Digital DfMA solution using both actual industry data and commercial projects in Merit
  • Maintain the automated Digital DfMA solution and develop operation and training manuals
  • Lead the training on the Automated Digital DfMA solution at Merit
  • Disseminate and embed the knowledge within Merit to various stakeholders throughout the KTP via reports, presentations, group discussions and workshops
  • Prepare publications, case studies and attend conferences


The Person


Knowledge, Skills, and Experience


  • Experience in programming and software development in a relevant field  
  • Experience in developing extensions in Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools and visual programming tools


  • Ability to model knowledge systems using formal languages and frameworks
  • Knowledge of computational design (parametric, generative, or algorithmic)
  • Understanding of BIM protocols and knowledge of Digital Collaborative Environment (3D Experience)
  • Ability to define and develop ontologies for representing captured knowledge using common ontology languages (such as OWL)
  • Knowledge of semantic web technologies, such as RDF and SPARQL
  • Familiarity with open data formats in the AEC sector such as Industry Foundation Classes (IFC)


Attributes and Behaviour 

  • Personal motivation and drive
  • Excellent organisational and planning skills
  • Thrives in a project environment with the ability to work to tight deadlines
  • The ability to work independently and collaboratively with colleagues
  • The ability to work autonomously and the confidence to lead
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to communicate at all levels to different stakeholder groups in both academia and industry
  • Good attention to detail
  • Is a natural problem solver
  • Excellent verbal, written and presentation skills




  • Candidates should have MSc or PhD in Design / Computational Design, Architectural Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Computer Science, Software Engineering, or a related discipline.


The interviews are due to be held week commencing 6th of May 2024.


Newcastle University is a global University where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


We are committed to being a fully inclusive university which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all of our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from individuals who can complement our existing teams, we believe that success is built on having teams whose backgrounds and experiences reflect the diversity of our university and student population.


At Newcastle University we hold a silver Athena Swan award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  We also hold a Race Equality Charter Bronze award in recognition of our work towards tackling race inequality in higher education REC.  We are a Disability Confident employer and will offer an interview to disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the role as part of the offer and interview scheme.


In addition, we are a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe. 

Requisition ID: 26808