Research Studentship in Identification methods for offshore wind turbine structures and foundations

4-year DPhil (PhD) studentship starting October 2020

Supervisor: Professor Ross McAdam

This project is concerned with the development and implementation of system identification methodologies to estimate the properties of offshore wind turbine structures using monitored data. Novelty in the project stems from the identification of state-of-the-art foundation models, which have provided a new industry standard for foundation design. Within this overall scope there will be opportunities to develop the project in one or more of the following areas: (i) Experimental testing of laboratory scale offshore wind turbine dynamics, to provide benchmark data for model development and validation; (ii) System identification algorithm selection and development for foundation parameter estimation; (iii) Analysis of the influence of foundation model type and effects, such as scouring, on parameter estimation accuracy and observability; (iv) Analysis of sensor network optimisation for best/economic parameter estimation. The project contributes to the emerging area, being developed at Oxford, of field data driven identification methods that can provide critical feedback on offshore wind turbine foundation design. The applicant will join a strong team of students and academics aiming to integrate the latest geotechnical and structural dynamics models to explore offshore wind turbine design. The research group benefits from strong links with the offshore wind industry.

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 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 the WAMESS CDT and is open to Home classified students only. Full details of the EPSRC eligibility requirements can be found here.

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 £18,232 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
  • 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:

  • Previous experience of dynamic laboratory testing
  • Knowledge of system identification or structural health monitoring approaches

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Ross McAdam ( Please quote 20WAMESS_RM2 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: Identification methods for offshore wind turbine structures and foundations

On the “Funding” tab:

  • Are you applying for an advertised studentship competition(s): Yes
  • Advertised reference code: 20WAMESS_RM2

Application deadline 

PAST - 3rd March 2020

Start date 

1st October 2020