Ben Hicks BEng PhD CEng
Ben leads the Engineering Systems and Design group whose research activities necessitate close collaboration with industry to research, develop, implement and evaluate new tools, methods and technologies. Ben has worked closely with more than 100 organisations from the creative, design, high value manufacturing and construction sectors. Prior to joining Bristol he worked initially as a machine design consultant, entrepreneur and then academic at the Universities of Sydney and Bath. While at the University of Bath he was a founding member and later director of the (£10M) EPSRC-funded innovative manufacturing research centre. The Centre had a particular focus on machine design, design/manufacturing informatics, advanced manufacturing processes and verification.
In addition to his academic roles, Ben is a Chartered Engineer and has been involved in a number of science and education startups. He presently holds non-executive roles for a design SME and charity. Ben has also worked closely with professional organisations and research councils through a variety of strategic advisory roles.
Ben’s research concerns tools and methods to support the design and improvement of products, machines and manufacturing systems. His research has resulted in the creation of new processes and methods for design management, methods for computer-based design and optimisation, approaches for managing manufacturing information and knowledge discovery, and techniques for modelling machine-material interaction.
In addition to leading the ES&D group, Ben heads up the Design & Manufacturing Futures Laboratory which undertakes cutting edge research into how emerging ICT tools and technologies can deliver a transformative change in the way high-value products are designed, developed, manufactured and commissioned. The focus of the lab is on product modelling (e.g. constraint-based and topological optimisation), process improvement (such as engineeirng project health monitoring and artefact-based information management) and prototyping methods (tangible interfaces, augmented reality and fabricative, additive and subtractive technologies).
Ben is the Director of the EPSRC-funded Language of Collaborative Manufacturing Programme Grant and PI of the PhysiCAD project.
- Manufacturing Informatics
- Manufacturing Systems
- Manufacturing Processes
- Machine-Material Interaction
- Design Methods
- Design Thinking
- Constraint-Based Modelling and Optimisation
- Machine Design
- 3D Fabrication
Early Stage Digital Twins for Early Stage Engineering Design
Hybrid Prototyping: Pure Theory or a Practical Solution to Accelerating Prototyping Tasks?
Different approaches to democratise design - are they equal?
Digital Twins of Processes, Products and Services: from Prototypes to End-of-Life
Managing complex engineering projects: What can we learn from the evolving digital footprint?
The emergent structures in digital engineering work: what can we learn from dynamic DSMs of near-identical systems design projects?
Designing with LEGO: exploring low fidelity visualization as a trigger for student behavior change toward idea fluency
Democratising the design of 3D printed functional components through a hybrid Virtual-Physical Design Methodology
Towards the democratisation of design: Exploration of variability in the process of filament deposition modelling in desktop additive manufacture
Democratisation of design for functional objects manufactured by fused deposition