• Mike Yearworth University of Bristol


systems practice in engineering, systems thinking, systems practice, education, engineering doctorate


The Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) in Systems, a collaboration between the University of Bristol and the University of Bath, offers an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Systems Programme which is aimed at high-calibre engineers from graduate level to early/mid-career stage with the purpose of developing the systems-thinking capabilities of future leaders in industry. Research Engineers on this programme are based ~75% of their time in industry and focussed on a research project defined by their sponsoring company. This paper presents a personal reflection on the role of the systems supervisor on this programme with a focus on four areas of particular interest to the author i) alignment of industry needs and academic research, ii) developing an appreciation for the need for systems thinking, iii) navigating the systems literature, and iv) teaching research methods for doctoral research in systems. The purpose is to encourage and engage in debate on the development of systems practice in engineering.

Author Biography

Mike Yearworth, University of Bristol

Dr Mike Yearworth is a Reader in Systems at the University of Bristol where he is responsible for developing research strategy and is course director for Advanced Systems and Research Methods teaching. His research is focused on the development and application of systems based methods for working with complex socio-technical problems. Prior to joining the University he was Senior Research Manager at Hewlett-Packard’s European Research Laboratory and previously Director of the Intelligent Computer Systems Centre at the University of the West of England. He is a Chartered Engineer and holds an MBA from the University of Bath and BSc and PhD degrees in Physics from the University of Southampton.



How to Cite

Yearworth, M. (2011). SYSTEMS PRACTICE IN ENGINEERING: REFLECTIONS ON DOCTORAL LEVEL SYSTEMS SUPERVISION. Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2011, Hull, UK, 55(1). Retrieved from