Brasenose College / Ørsted Research Studentship in Cyclic Loading of Offshore Wind Turbine Foundations – Numerical Analysis

4-year DPhil (PhD) studentship starting October 2020

Supervisors: Professor Harvey Burd and Professor Byron Byrne

This project is concerned with the development of new numerical procedures to model and predict the performance of foundations for offshore wind turbine support structures. The work will focus particularly on realistic modelling of foundation behaviour under cyclic loads that result from wind and wave action. Within this overall scope there will be opportunities to develop the project in one or more of the following areas: (i) 1D finite element modelling techniques for monopile foundations under cyclic loading; (ii) soil constitutive model development and implementation in 3D finite element analysis; (iii) constitutive model calibration using data from cyclic soil element tests; (iv) analysis of field test data on cyclic loading of monopiles. The project will contribute to a significant research programme at Oxford, where a large team of students and academic staff work alongside engineers from Ørsted to develop new cyclic loading design methods for offshore wind structures.

The successful applicant will be a member of the EPSRC-funded 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 programme can be found on the course page on the University’s graduate admissions website. The CDT is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and is keen to attract applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds.


This studentship is funded by Brasenose College and 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 honours degree in general engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, or other relevant discipline such as physics or applied mathematics
  • Strong understanding of mechanics
  • Excellent mathematical skills
  • Ability to undertake scientific programming (e.g. in Matlab, Python, Fortran or C/C++)
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Detailed knowledge of geotechnical engineering
  • Previous experience with finite element software

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Harvey Burd ( and Professor Byron Byrne ( Please quote 20WAMESS_HB 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: Brasenose College / Ørsted – Cyclic Loading of Offshore Wind Turbine Foundations – Numerical Analysis
  • College preference: Brasenose College

On the “Funding” tab:

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

Application Deadline

3 March 2020

Start Date

1 October 2020