Research Studentship in Integrated Modelling and Analysis of Offshore Wind Structures

4-year DPhil (PhD) studentship starting October 2020

Supervisor: Professor Ross McAdam

This project concerns development and application of numerical structural models to predict the dynamic behaviour and lifetime performance of offshore wind turbines. The novelty in modelling relates to implementation of state-of-art foundation models within structural models of the wind turbine, and the inference of changes in dynamic and long-term behaviour over time. The overall scope allows the project to develop in one or more of the following areas: (i) Implementation of modelling techniques for monopile foundations under cyclic loading and/or scouring/protection within 1D finite element models; (ii) Integration of foundation models within aero-hydro-elastic offshore wind turbine models, simulating lifetime loads and response; (iii) Analysis of the influence of foundation model type and effects on long term structural fatigue; (iv) Extension of the aero-hydro-elastic modelling to floating offshore wind structures. 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 Department of Engineering Science 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 £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
  • Ability to undertake scientific programming (e.g. in Matlab, Python, Fortran or C/C++)
  • Strong understanding of mechanics
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Previous experience of aerodynamic and hydrodynamic modelling related to wind turbines
  • Detailed knowledge of geotechnical engineering
  • Previous experience with finite element or aeroelastic software

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Professor Ross McAdam ( Please quote 20WAMESS_RM1 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: Integrated Modelling and Analysis of Offshore Wind Structures

On the “Funding” tab:

  • Are you applying for an advertised studentship competition(s): Yes
  • Advertised reference code: 20WAMESS_RM1

Application deadline 

PAST - 3rd March 2020

Start date 

1st October 2020