Funded PhD research studentship - Probabilistic design in offshore renewable energy

Probabilistic Design in Offshore Renewable Energy 

DoS: Dave Simmonds

Second Supervisor: Martyn Hann

Third Supervisor: Deborah Greaves

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2018.

Project description

The design requirements (responses and loads) for floating offshore renewable energy (ORE) devices result from combinations of environmental conditions and hydrodynamics of the structure. Both of these are stochastic processes. In other areas of engineering where traditional design approaches involving historical failures and safety factors as guiding principles have been found wanting, a probabilistic or reliability approach that captures this stochastic nature has been shown to be of benefit. This has allowed a better appreciation of the likelihood and frequency of system failures in the application to flooding, aerospace systems, electronic systems and so on. The probability distribution for each of the variables are described and combined to describe the potential failure of different parts or the entirety of a complex system. Reliability approaches may therefore help reduce costs and optimise maintenance schedules and energy production in ORE systems.

In this project you will work to identify combinations of design environmental load cases for a floating ORE system using a combination of physical and numerical modelling (CFD and potential flow). Physical modelling will be conducted in UoP’s COAST laboratory. The identified load cases will be used to develop a probabilistic design approach with the aim of improving the efficiency of ORE systems.

The successful applicant will have an interest in ORE and probabilistic methods. They will join the COAST research group, a leading team of coastal and ocean engineering researchers. They will also benefit from working alongside and in support of the newly formed ORE Supergen Hub.


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 years and includes full Home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,777 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £10,610 per annum).

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

General information about applying for a research degree at University of Plymouth.

You can apply via the online application form.

Please mark it FAO Aimee McNeillie and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Engineering.

For more information on the admissions process contact Aimee McNeillie.

The closing date for applications is noon on 13 July 2018. 

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview 20 July 2018. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by 25 July 2018 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.