Motions and loads on dynamic export cables for floating Offshore Renewable Energy farms using physical and numerical modelling

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 

A common feature of all Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) systems is the need for energy extracted from either wind, waves or currents to be transmit to shore via cables. At present, existing cabling designs are generally inherited from fixed onshore/offshore wind or the offshore oil and gas sectors, and there is uncertainty in their effectiveness for floating ORE farms.

One key challenge is understanding the motions and corresponding loads that cables are exposed to, and how these are dependent on the state of the cable under different scenarios. Seabed conditions, device motions and method of connection to the floating devices are all expected to influence these loads. Cable failures occur primarily due to either or both extreme loads and fatigue damage

This PhD scholarship aims to utilise and develop physical and numerical modelling tools to characterise the behaviour of cables that are in suspension between two points, and hence help to minimise the likelihood of failure of these component. We will focus on two scenarios; suspension over varying seabed topology and suspension between two interconnected devices. The PhD objectives are to:

  • Establish protocols for, and carry out, scale model testing of cable response within the COAST laboratory.
  • Adapt existing numerical models to simulate the hydrodynamic forces and motions in the two cable scenarios. This will include use and development of existing mooring line models and/or fully non-linear OpenFOAM simulations.
  •  Apply material modelling methods to model cable damage from both extreme loads and fatigue resulting from the modelled motions.


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.