PhD Studentship - Winds of Change: The Impact of Climate Change on Offshore Wind Power Generation

Loughborough University - Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Starting: October 1st 2017

Interview date: w/c February 13th 2017

Primary supervisor: Prof Simon Watson

Secondary supervisor: Dr Tom Betts

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by the NERC CENTA Doctoral Training Partnership to start in October 2017. The project will be based in the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering at Loughborough University.

Project Detail:

Climate change is likely to increase the number of extreme weather events which will affect UK offshore wind farms. This project will use of state-of-the-art models and data to predict future effects. More storms may have an impact on the electricity supply if large numbers of offshore wind farms shut down in high wind conditions. A gust front associated with thunderstorm activity can cause a change from gentle breeze to gale conditions and back within a few hours. This would cause an offshore wind farm to go from virtually no output to full output and back in a very short space of time posing potential problems for European grid operators if such events were to increase in frequency.

The student will: analyse surface and remote sensing data to assess frequency and characteristics of extreme weather events; use mesoscale and computational fluid dynamics models to downscale global datasets for the prediction of extreme events; quantify the impact that present and future extremes may have on offshore wind farms.

This project will give the student an exciting opportunity to work in an area of research that has had little attention thus far, namely climate change impacts on wind power. The results will help inform future planning strategies for wind farm and network operators.

The project is a CASE award with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the student will spend part of their time at the ORE Catapult’s industrial and research testing facilities at Blyth.

Find out more:

General information about the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering can be found at and for further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website or contact Prof Simon Watson,,

Entry requirements:

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Physical Science, Environmental Science or Earth Science (e.g. atmospheric science, meteorology). A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

Funding information:

The studentship is for 3.5 years, which is intended to start October 2017. It provides a tax-free stipend of £14,296 per annum (2016/17 rate) for the duration plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a research training support grant of £8,000. Due to funding restrictions, only students with UK/EU fee status will be considered for this opportunity. For further information on studentship eligibility please see RCUK Terms & Conditions.

Contact details:

Prof Simon Watson,, +44 (0)1509 635348

How to apply:

  • Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format (available from
  • All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select ‘Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering’. During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.

Please quote CENTA-LU3 when completing your online application.

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Midlands of England