PhD Studentship - Optimization-Based Analysis & Control of Fluid Flows

Imperial College London - Department of Aeronautics

Tax-free stipend of approximately £16,300 per annum


The analysis, modelling and control of turbulent fluid flows is a fundamental engineering challenge. For example, developing methods to reduce aerodynamic drag in the transportation industries promises significant economic and environmental impact. A barrier to implementing flow control, however, is that typical techniques from control theory require relatively simple, low-order, approximate flow models, and this is at odds with the typical complexity exhibited by flows of practical interest.

In our group at Imperial we address this problem by developing optimization-based methods to both model and understand fluid flows. Our methods can be applied to experimental or numerically-generated flow data or used to directly analyse the governing Navier-Stokes equations. Outputs from these methods can be used to develop better models for fluid flows and to inform flow control strategies. Two of our methods are the QUINOPT and OMD algorithms, details of which can be found at The OMD algorithm is used to analyse ensembles of velocity field data and creates dynamic modes which may be used as building blocks for modelling a fluid flow. This PhD position links with a recent EPSRC-funded project to develop the OMD algorithm with a view to creating improved techniques for model-based flow control. 


This PhD position is relevant to students with experience in engineering, mathematics, control theory or fluid dynamics who are motivated to develop new computational and theoretical approaches to the analysis of fluid flows. Applicants who have an interest in these topics are encouraged to apply, but it is not expected that the successful applicant will have experience of all of them.

Applicants should have excellent academic credentials and hold, or expect to obtain, a first-class degree in Engineering, Mathematics, Physics or a related discipline. 

Funding is available for UK citizens and EU citizens who have resided in the UK for the past three years. The studentship is for 3.5 years and will provide full coverage of tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £16,296.


Applicants should send a cover letter and CV to Dr Andrew Wynn ( with the subject line “PhD in Optimization-Based Analysis of Fluid Flows”.

Closing date for applications: Open until filled

Committed to equality and valuing diversity.  We are also an Athena Bronze SWAN Award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion and a Two Ticks Employer.

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