Five Fully-Funded Doctoral Studentships in Offshore Wind Energy

Durham University - Department of Engineering

Supervisors: Prof. Charles Augarde, Dr Christopher Crabtree, Dr Will Coombs, Prof. Simon Hogg, Dr Grant Ingram, Prof. Toby Breckon, Dr Peter Matthews

Durham University is seeking applications for five PhD studentships as part of our EPSRC Prosperity Partnerships project. This £7.6M project is a collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield, Durham and Hull and the two leading industrial companies in offshore wind energy, Siemens-Gamesa and Ørsted (formerly DONG Energy).

The studentships cover five distinct projects, based on Durham’s research expertise and the priorities of the offshore wind industry.

  • Robust power converter design (Dr Christopher Crabtree)
  • Image analysis and the mechanical integrity of blades (Dr Toby Breckon)
  • Modelling of blade erosion (Prof Simon Hogg)
  • Mechanics of lightweight inter-array cables for offshore renewable installations (Dr Will Coombs)
  • Numerical modelling of drag anchors for cable risk assessment (Dr Will Coombs).

The successful applicants will be working with researchers across the three academic partner institutions and alongside industrial experts from Siemens-Gamesa and Ørsted. They will also have close links to the Durham Energy Institute and be able to access training through the University’s Researcher Development Programme for Postgraduate Students. Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria.

Candidates should contact the relevant member of academic staff to discuss project-specific requirements:

  • First class honours (or high 2.1 or equivalent) degree in engineering, physics, the mathematical sciences or computer science (project-depending).
  • Strong understanding of engineering applications and problem solving.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.

The following criteria are desirable but not essential:

  • A strong understanding of offshore wind energy systems, relevant to the particular project. Project-specific desirable skills are detailed below:
  • Robust power converter design
    • First degree in electrical engineering
    • Understanding of computational modelling of electrical systems
    • Understanding of reliability analysis techniques
    • Experience of working with industry
  • Image-based analysis of blade integrity from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
    • First degree in general engineering or computer science
    • Strong computational skills including software development
    • Understanding of computer vision / image analysis techniques
    • Experience of hardware and software integration
  • Modelling of blade erosion
    • First degree in mechanical or general engineering
    • Knowledge of the fundamentals of aerodynamics
    • Expertise in modelling (using either off-the-shelf codes or implementing numerical methods)
    • Expertise in running experiments
  • Mechanics of lightweight inter-array cables for offshore renewable installations:
    • First degree in civil/geotechnical engineering;
    • Knowledge in non-linear solid mechanics (material or geometric);
    • Knowledge of constitutive models for soils (for example, Critical State Soil Mechanics); and
    • Experience of scientific programming and implementation of numerical methods in computer code.
  • Numerical modelling of drag anchors for cable risk assessment:
    • First degree in civil/geotechnical engineering;
    • Knowledge in non-linear solid mechanics (material or geometric);
    • Knowledge on finite-element analysis (or other boundary-value solvers); and
    • Experience of scientific programming and implementation of numerical methods in computer code.

The UK/EU studentships are fully funded for 3.5 years with a tax-free stipend at the EPSRC rate (£14,553 for 2017/18). The project will support one non-UK/EU studentship and will be awarded based on applicant quality for any given project. In the first instance, interested candidates are encouraged to make an informal enquiry to the named academic supervisor. To apply formally for these studentships, applicants should submit a cover letter highlighting what you can bring to the project, their CV and the names of two academic referees. Applicants will be required to submit a formal application using the online system found at https://www.dur.ac.uk/postgraduate/study/apply/.The Department holds an Athena Swan Bronze award, highlighting its commitment to promoting women in Science, Engineering and Technology.

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Northern England