What works in complex Systems of Systems (SoS) Environments?

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng


The 21st Century presents tough global/societal challenges. The Engineering Systems of Systems research group aims to seek solutions to these challenges through the study and advancement of complex Systems of Systems (SoS) engineering and the socio-technical systems that shape our world.

This studentship is focused on the novel application of a theory-driven realist evaluative research approach to evidence 'what works' in SoS environments, specifically those comprising software and data-intensive systems often with 'smart' connected components. Evidencing what works (or does not work) and more importantly why, is particularly challenging for SoS researchers due to; the pace of technological change, the timing of implementation chains, evolving integration architectures and the changing socio-technical and socio-economic contexts that these developments are situated in.

The objective is to adapt existing systems engineering verification and validation techniques and blend these with the realist method. This will enable the evaluation of the dynamics of interdependent and highly complex engineered/digital systems within wider socio-technical systems, juxtaposed with the unpredictability of human behaviour. The aim is to evidence the critical contextual and human factors that lead to unanticipated effects at the SoS level and to provide real-world recommendations.

There is opportunity for the successful candidate to carry out this research in a variety of application domains, for example; smart systems within our homes and work places, urban systems within cities, transportation, healthcare, emergency services, manufacturing, retail, defence or even exploration. The over-arching aim is to progress our understanding of 'what works, for whom, in which contexts and why' in complex SoS, to solve real-world problems and provide answers to hitherto misunderstood policy questions in grand challenge domains.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513088/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2161423 Studentship EP/R513088/1 01/01/2019 30/06/2022 Iqra Shahzad