Multi-objective Optimisation of a Multiple Oscillating Water Column (MOWC) Breakwater

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 

Integrating wave energy converters (WEC) with breakwaters offers one of the most promising concepts for wave energy utilization. The aim of the project is to design, develop and evaluate a novel WEC concept based on a near shore, relatively deep water, floating Multiple Oscillating Water Column (MOWC) breakwater principle, leading to the multi-objective optimisation of the structure. 

The PhD student is expected to incorporate a whole ‘systems engineering approach’ using analytical, numerical and physical modelling techniques to investigate how the geometry, shape, configuration and material of constructions would affect its performance, reliability and cost. The insights from the planned numerical simulation work (existing frequency and time domain numerical models, and also NEMOH and codes developed in-house by the supervisor team) will augment the results obtained from model testing on MOWC in the COAST Laboratory allowing its hydrodynamic performance to be optimised on a multiple objectives basis by:

i.         significantly improving the power capture through deeper understanding of the fundamental hydrodynamics of the MOWC design;

ii.         reducing costs by gaining a detailed understanding of the wave loading, pressure and inertia forces during normal operations so enabling robust design that minimises the raw materials and construction costs;

iii.       survivability characteristics and extreme waves environmental considerations for reliability based design approach.

The modelling results include the effects of free surface, air compressibility, power take off, foundation and support structure design, will then be used to establish the design criteria, hydrodynamic performance, and the development protocol for this promising technology.


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 Dr Ming Dai and . 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.