Coupled nonlinear analysis of a flexible fabric wave energy converter

Applications are invited for a 3.5-year MPhil/PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2021.

To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Mechanical Engineering, then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within Offshore Renewable Energy and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Take a look at the Doctoral College's general information on applying for a research degree.

Project description 

Flexible responsive wave energy converter (WEC) concepts have shown potential for step change reduction in Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) in wave energy. The use of flexible membrane materials can achieve large volume structures needed in wave energy without the traditional large mass associated with steel or concrete construction. In addition, being lightweight and readily transported when deflated, this makes offshore operations relatively low cost and straightforward, and makes the case for a mid-life refit more compelling. However, survivability and reliability are vitally important for flexible WECs as they have to respond in energetic sea states while not exceeding critical stresses in extreme seas. Thus the aim of this PhD studentship is to develop a coupled numerical model that can combine the hydrodynamic behaviour of the WEC in waves with detailed analysis of the structural response. The research will involve numerical modelling, wave basin test of a WEC prototype, and material dynamic fatigue testing. 

The successful candidate will join the COAST Engineering Research Group as well as the MAterials and STructures (MAST) Research Group, with considerable opportunities for training and networking. The candidate will also benefit from strong links with the Supergen ORE and PRIMaRE initiatives, providing access to research across the entire offshore renewable energy (ORE) field.


Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification. 

The studentship is supported for three and a half years and includes full home tuition fees plus a stipend of £15,609 per annum (2021/22 rate). The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover international fees will have to cover the difference between the home and the International tuition fee rates (approximately £12,697 per annum).

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

General information about applying for a research degree at the University of Plymouth and to apply for this position please visit:

Please mark it FAO Doctoral College and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics.

For more information on the admissions process email the Doctoral College,

The closing date for applications is 19 April 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview the week beginning 3 May 2021. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by 31 May should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.