Ørsted Research Studentship in Geotechnical Design for Offshore Wind Turbines

4-year DPhil (PhD) studentship starting October 2020

Supervisor: Professor Byron Byrne

A significant program of research is currently underway at Oxford, funded by Ørsted, addressing new design methods for the monopile foundations of offshore wind turbines. The work focuses on realistic modelling of the foundation behaviour under cyclic loads from wind and wave action, exploring theoretical developments, numerical analysis, laboratory testing and medium scale field testing. This specific project is concerned with laboratory model and element testing, exploring the link between cyclic element testing (such as from triaxial testing or simple shear testing), the macro behaviour of monopile foundations and theoretical models. Candidates demonstrating potential for high quality laboratory testing, with an appreciation for theoretical modelling approaches, are sought. The successful applicant will join a strong team of students and academic staff who work collaboratively alongside engineers from Ørsted.

The successful applicant will also be a member of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures (WAMESS CDT), which is a collaboration between the Universities of Strathclyde, Oxford and Edinburgh. Further details of the WAMESS CDT can be found on the course page on the University’s graduate admissions website.


This studentship is funded by Ørsted and is open to both UK and EU applicants.

Award Value

Course fees will be covered at the level set for UK/EU students (currently £7970 p.a.) and a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) will be paid at the enhanced rate applicable to WAMESS CDT students (currently £18232 p.a.).

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first class, or strong upper second class, honours degree in general engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, or other relevant discipline such as physics or applied mathematics
  • Excellent mathematical skills
  • Strong understanding of mechanics
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Detailed knowledge of geotechnical engineering
  • Previous experience of laboratory based work
  • An aptitude for theoretical methods in geotechnical engineering based on plasticity theory
  • Ability to undertake scientific programming (e.g. in Matlab, Python, Fortran or C/C++)

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Byron Byrne. Please quote 20WAMESS_BB in all correspondence.

Formal applications are to be made using the online Graduate Application Form that is accessible through the WAMESS CDT course page (click the “Apply” button on the “How to Apply” tab). When filling out the fields of the Graduate Application Form, please observe the following guidance.

On the “Course” tab:

  • Proposed field and title of research project: Ørsted Geotechnical Design of Offshore Wind Turbines

On the “Funding” tab:

  • Are you applying for an advertised studentship competition(s): Yes
  • Advertised reference code: 20WAMESS_BB

Application Deadline

3 March 2020

Start Date

1 October 2020