Skip to main content

Research Studentship in Design of Foundations and Anchors in Rock for Offshore Wind Energy Systems

Research Studentship in Design of Foundations and Anchors in Rock for Offshore Wind Energy Systems.

4-year D.Phil. (PhD) studentship starting October 2022

Supervisors: Professor Harvey Burd

Offshore wind farms typically comprise arrays of fixed-base structures supported by piled foundations embedded in sand or clay soils. Future planned developments in European coastal waters include sites where the bedrock is close to the seabed surface. In such cases piled foundations are installed by drilling and grouting. For deep water sites, future developments involving floating offshore wind systems are envisaged. At sites where shallow bedrock exists, appropriate forms of rock anchors will be needed to tether the floating systems.

This project is concerned with the development of procedures to design and analyse new-generation foundation and anchor systems for offshore wind turbine systems at sites where the bedrock is close to the seabed. Within this overall scope there are opportunities to develop the project in one or more directions as follows: (i) 3D finite element procedures, including constitutive models for rock and grout; (ii) development of simplified 1D finite element modelling techniques, taking current procedures for foundations embedded in sand/clay soils as a starting point; (iii) assessment of data from field measurements; (iv) studies on installation procedures; (v) development of novel foundation/anchor systems; (vi) improvement of rock characterisation approaches for foundation design.

The project is being conducted in collaboration with Geowynd. Geowynd is a specialist engineering consultancy that provides advanced geotechnical engineering support to the offshore renewable energy industry. Engineers from Geowynd will be actively engaged in supporting the research.

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. The successful applicant will be a member of Brasenose College.


This studentship is funded through the WAMESS CDT and is open to both UK and International students, although fees will only be covered at the Home/ROI rate. Further details can be found here under the “Fee Status” tab and here under the “Funding and Costs” tab.

Award Value

Course fees will be covered at the level set for Home/ROI students (currently £8290 p.a.) and a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) will be paid at the enhanced rate applicable to WAMESS CDT students (currently £18508 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, engineering geology or a cognate subject.
  • Undergraduate-level knowledge of geotechnical engineering relevant to the design of offshore foundations
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English

The following criteria are considered desirable but not essential:

  • Previous engagement with the design, analysis, construction or maintenance of offshore renewable energy systems
  • Previous experience with finite element software
  • Knowledge of design procedures for offshore monopile foundations

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Harvey Burd ( (Please quote 22ENGCI_HB2 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: Design of Foundations and Anchors in Rock for Offshore Wind Energy Systems
  • College preference: Brasenose College

On the “Funding” tab:

  • Are you applying for an advertised studentship competition(s): Yes
  • Advertised reference code: 22ENGCI_HB2

Application deadline: 3 December 2021

Start date: October 2022