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Ørsted Research Studentship in Offshore Engineering

Project: Cyclic Loading of Offshore Wind Turbine Foundations – Numerical Analysis

4-year D.Phil. (PhD) studentship starting September 2021

Supervisor: 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 program 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 can be found on the course page on the University’s graduate admissions website.

The studentship is partly funded by Ørsted. The successful applicant will be a member of Brasenose College.


This studentship is open to Home/ROI classified students. Further details can be found here under the “Fee Status” 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, 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, 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 21ENGCI_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: 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: 21ENGCI_HB


Application deadline: 30th April 2021

Start date: 27th September 2021