Hybrid structures for coastal defence and wave energy

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 01 October 2022 or 01 January 2023


To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Civil Engineering (and select the entry point of October 2022 or January 2023), then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Before applying, please ensure you have read the Doctoral College’s general information on applying for a research degree.

For more information on the admissions process please contact doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk.

Director of Studies: Dr Dave Simmonds  
2nd Supervisor: Dr Keri Collins
Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 01 October 2022 or 01 January 2023.
Project description
This research focusses on experimental and numerical approaches for investigating the design and performance of hybrid coastal structures that provide both coastal protection and clean energy production.
Hybrid shoreline devices that combine the features of oscillating water column (OWC) with wave overtopping (OT) technologies will be investigated in order to optimise their efficiency for wave energy conversion (WEC). In common with other WEC technologies the challenge is to demonstrate the economic viability of constructing, operating and maintaining these devices. One measure of viability is the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). This can be addressed by optimising the efficiency, buildability and reliability of the designs. However, the viability of shoreline WEC technology can be further enhanced by considering the benefits and potential cost reduction when integrated into coastal defences or port structures as active elements for wave absorption.
Initially, your research should focus on the selection and optimisation of hybrid OWC-OT device geometries to achieve improved efficiency of wave energy conversion. You will investigate wave loads under both operational and extreme wave conditions in relation to the materials properties and reliability of prototype devices. Further research will evaluate the wave absorption function of these devices and the implications for cost reduction and the design of coastal protection structures.
As a PhD student you will have access to test facilities and the instrumentation in the University’s unique COAST hydraulics laboratory facilities and also numerical modelling software and high performance computing facilities. You will also join a vibrant and active international research group located in the Marine Building on the Plymouth campus.
Applicants should have a first or upper-second class honours degree in an appropriate engineering (mechanical, civil engineering etc), or physical science (physics, oceanography etc) degree subject. A relevant masters qualification is preferable, but not essential. Applicants should be interested in experimentation and numerical modelling.
The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home tuition fees plus a stipend of £16,062.00 per annum (2022/23 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 £12,670 per annum).
If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Dave Simmonds preferably by email in the first instance.
Please view the list of supporting documents to upload with your application.
For more information on the admissions process generally, please contact doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk.
The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 29 August 2022. 
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview at the start of September 2022. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received a response within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.