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Fully-Funded Doctoral Studentship in Offshore Wind Energy Related to Geotechnical Engineering

Durham University - Department of Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Durham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,553 per annum (based on 2017/2018 stipend).
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 24th July 2018
Closes: 30th September 2018

Duration: 3.5 years
Supervisors: Prof. Charles Augarde and Dr Will Coombs

Durham University is seeking applications for a PhD studentship 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. The successful applicant will have close links to the Durham Energy Institute and be able to access training through the University’s Researcher Development Programme.

Project title:
Mechanics of lightweight inter-array cables for offshore renewable installations.

Project description:
Particular issues exist with the installation of lightweight cabling for offshore renewables installations, e.g. inter-array lines in certain seabed conditions. Cabling made using low specific gravity materials such as aluminium is often difficult to bend into place in a trench in which the seabed deposits are effectively fluidised due to the trenching operation. The initial stability following installation is then affected by soil settlement above and around the cable, and by vibrations transmitted along the cable. It is currently very difficult to predict behaviour and new tools are needed to avoid problems in the future. In this project, numerical techniques will be developed to model the installation and post-installation of a single representative cable in a soft seabed material.

Assessment criteria:
Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • 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;
  • 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);
  • Knowledge on finite-element analysis (or other boundary-value solvers); and
  • Experience of scientific programming and implementation of numerical methods in computer code.

Funding and application process:
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).

In the first instance, interested candidates are encouraged to make an informal enquiry to the named academic supervisor(s). To apply formally for this studentship, applicants should submit an application using the online system found at

Decisions will be made on applicants as they are received.

The Department holds an Athena Swan Bronze award, highlighting its commitment to promoting women in Science, Engineering and Technology.

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