Array scale sediment transport dynamics with ORE Catapult

Aura CDT Industry PhD Scholarships

ORE Catapult: Array scale sediment transport dynamics

In partnership with Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the Aura CDT is offering a cluster of 4-year taught and research industry-sponsored PhD scholarships. This PhD directly addresses sector needs to understand array scale sediment transport.

Future offshore wind farm (OWF) arrays will be built further from shore. As a result, there is a need to advance both planning and design of foundations and electrical infrastructure to cope with greater depths, and more extensive exposure in the hostile marine environment. Built OWF array configurations are not optimised for the different predominant hydrodynamic conditions and large-scale, long-term sediment transport processes at future development sites. Therefore, different optimal design concepts to those adopted for current sites might be needed.

Little is known about array-scale longshore and cross-shore sediment transport budgets, sediment mobility and increased turbidity effects in OWFs in the UK and emerging markets. Moreover, by 2034, up to 1,000 turbines in UK windfarms will reach the end of their design life, requiring decommissioning work, which will trigger seabed instabilities and modify sediment transport fluxes.

This PhD will explore the following research questions:

  • How are the flow and sediment transport processes in future OSW sites different to those in current sites?
  • How would current array configurations modify those conditions? What are the potential impacts to array scale seabed dynamics?
  • How could cable networks be optimised from an array scale sediment transport perspective in future sites?
  • How could current cable, foundation and scour protection practices be improved to optimise future OSW array configurations?
  • How can current cable installation be modified to facilitate site decommissioning and future repurposing?

The post is available from September 2021 as a full-time position. You will join Cohort 3 of the Aura CDT in Hull, in the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary – the global centre for research, innovation and development for the sector. Initially, you will study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment, followed by a 3-year PhD supported by ORE Catapult.

Applications are open until Sunday 24 January 2021. Please see our instructions on How to Apply

Academic Supervisors

Dr Stuart McLelland       email:

Dr Rob Dorrell                 email:

Dr Roberto Fernández   email:

Dr Steve Simmons           email:



This full-time ORE Catapult PhD Scholarship will include fees at the ‘Home/EU/International’ student rate and maintenance (£15,560 per annum, 2021/22 rate) for four years, depending on satisfactory progress.


Entry requirements

If you have received a First-class Honours degree or a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters (or the international equivalents) in Engineering, Geology, Geography, Oceanography or a related area, we would like to hear from you. Experience in handling large datasets and knowledge of statistics, scientific programming and/or climate models would be advantageous.

If your first language is not English, or you require Tier 4 student visa to study, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language proficiency level that meets the requirements of the Aura CDT’s academic partners. This course requires academic IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each skill.

Watch our webinar recording to find out more

Industry Scholarship applications open until 24/01/21