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Courtney Thornberry: Product Lifecyle Management

Courtney is in her second year of the EngD International programme at WMG.

After majoring in Physics at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and earning a Master’s in Technology at IUPUI, Indiana, USA, Courtney decided to apply for the EngD International after attending a summer school on Sustainability at WMG in 2011.

Passionate about renewable energy and sustainability, Courtney’s original focus was on Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and its applications for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in collaboration with sponsoring company PTC.

The growth of globalization has led to an increased need for collaboration in many sectors and PLM tools are being used by large companies, from defence to aerospace to motorsports, to facilitate this global collaboration. However, these tools are often costly and complicated. Identifying the core elements of an effective PLM tool and how they might be applied in a more affordable and simple manner for smaller businesses is an area of particular interest and future importance. There may be several solutions that work for different businesses, so investigating collaboration in many forms will be key to the project. This means looking at non-traditional methods, such as open source hardware design and open innovation networks and how they can be applied to different industries, particularly motorsports and renewable energy.

Courtney spent two months in the US with her sponsor company earlier this year, working with them on current topics and is continuing on a project for the CTO.

She has also been working on altering the direction of her work to align more closely with the activities of the WMG centre HVM Catapult, engaging companies with the Catapult and beginning research into fuel cells, particularly in regard to manufacturing scale-up. Courtney has completed a scoping paper on fuel cell research for WMG and Catapult with two other EngD International students and is preparing another paper for submission with a Master's research student from the US, who she was instrumental in bringing over to work on Fuel Cell Manufacturing over the summer.

Courtney's goal is to engage further with the fledgling fuel cell industry in the UK as it grows, to see if there are any innovative processes that would be applicable in the areas of product development, manufacturing capabilities and servitization (as these are all closely linked).

Courtney has also become very involved with Warwick Racing’s Formula Student Team, made up of final year MEng students, to understand more about team organisation, structure and knowledge transfer.

Courtney Thornberry