Improved physical modelling techniques for new high capacity floating offshore wind turbines

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2023


To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Civil Engineering (and select the entry point of October 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
Director of Studies: Dr Martyn Hann
2nd Supervisor: Dr Sanjay Sharma
3rd Supervisor: Dr Edward Ransley
4rd Supervisor: Dr Craig McNeile
5th Supervisor: Dr Chong Ng (
Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2023.
Project description
Floating offshore wind turbines (FOWT) are widely seen as an essential part of many countries’ drive to achieve ‘net-zero’. However, the Levelised Cost of Energy of FOWT is still high compared with fixed foundation offshore wind, and therefore additional innovation is needed.
Scaled physical modelling of FOWT is a critical stage in the development of new design innovations, but represents a significant challenge. Hydrodynamic loads applied to platform and moorings from waves and currents are modelled in wave tanks, such as the COAST Laboratory’s Ocean Basin. However, aerodynamic loads also have a significant influence on the FOWT system’s response and cannot be ignored. The application of these aerodynamic loads without introducing unwanted scale effects to the experiment represents a significant challenge.
This PhD will explore the use of two techniques for overcoming this challenge, to enable the testing of high capacity FOWT. The first technique involves the wind turbine being replaced with thrusters which apply correctly scaled aerodynamic loads to the floating platform. The generated loads are controlled in real time using a surrogate model ‘trained’ using results from more complex numerical models. In the second approach COAST’s new 3 m x 2.8 m wind generator will be used to generate a wind field over the Ocean Basin. A model turbine will be installed on the scaled floating platform to generate the aerodynamic loads.
Supported by the ORE Catapult, the successful candidate will gain skills in both state of the art physical and numerical modelling of FOWT. It is envisioned that the student will work with industry partners to support their physical modelling within the COAST laboratory.
Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant masters qualification.
The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home tuition fees plus a stipend of £17,668.00 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 Martyn Hann.
Please see a list of supporting documents to upload with your application.
For more information on the admissions process generally, please contact
The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 03 March 2023. 
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview shortly after the deadline. 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.