Coordinated Active Reliability Improvement for Power Electronic Converters in Offshore Wind farms

Research projects

Project Description:

This PhD scholarship is offered by the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment; a partnership between the Universities of Durham, Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield. The successful applicant will undertake a PG-Dip training year at the University of Hull and will continue their PhD research at Durham University.

Watch our short video to hear from Aura CDT students, academics and industry partners:

The Project

The offshore energy generation capacity is growing at a very fast rate and offshore wind is expected to provide the backbone of our electricity supply in 2050. Considering the need for cost effective, clean, and reliable energy, reliability of offshore wind energy systems is more important than ever.

One of the key underlying technologies used in modern wind energy conversion systems is Power Electronics. In all modern wind turbines, a power converter is placed between the generator and the grid to control the electricity generation. However, power converters are usually one of the most fragile parts of these systems and cause high downtime and maintenance costs in offshore wind systems. This project therefore proposes solutions for modelling and improving the reliability of power converters in offshore wind farms. The work will begin by developing a modelling framework for determining the power converters reliability in a wind farm as a function of the mission profiles of its turbines. This model will then be used to form an optimisation problem, where the objective will be to maximise the reliability while maintaining the power generated in the wind farm.

Running conventional electrothermal simulations can be extremely time consuming, therefore this project will aim to use Artificial Intelligence methods such as Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) to generate accurate and fast models for estimating the remaining lifetime and reliability of power converters. The optimisation problem will then try to find an optimum solution for improving the reliability of the converters.  Here, a suitable method (e.g., heuristic optimisation methods such as Particle Swarm Optimisation) will be used for solving the problem.


For more information visit If you have a direct question about the project, you may email or the project supervisor.


Training and skills

The student will receive training on one of our Real-time simulation platforms. We currently have two RTDS systems as well as an Opal-rt real-time simulator in the smart grids lab. At the end of the PhD, the student will be a world-class researcher in power electronics, reliability, and real-time simulation, which will make the prospects of a job in academia (as a researcher or lecturer), or in industry (as a power electronics expert, consultant, or manager) very promising.


Entry requirements

This PhD research project is suitable for applicants with a background in Engineering, Computer Science or Mathematics and Statistics. If you have received a First-class Honours degree OR a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters OR a Distinction in a Masters Degree, with any Undergraduate Degree, in one of the above subjects, (or the international equivalents,) we would like to hear from you.

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.



The Aura CDT is funded by the EPSRC and NERC, allowing us to provide scholarships that cover fees plus a stipend set at the UKRI nationally agreed rates, circa £17,668 per annum at 2022/23 rates (subject to progress).



Research Council funding for postgraduate research has residence requirements. Our Aura CDT scholarships are available to Home (UK) Students. To be considered a Home student, and therefore eligible for a full award, a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the scholarship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education). For full eligibility information, please refer to the EPSRC website. Please note, we have already allocated all our places for International Students to this cohort, so please do not apply unless you are a Home student.


How to apply

Recruitment is open until 16 April 2023 for Aura CDT PhD Scholarships beginning study in September 2023.

Applications are made via the University of Hull admissions system.

If you have not applied with the University of Hull before, you will need to set up an account to enable you to track the progress of your application and upload supporting documents.

With your application, you need to upload copies of the following supporting evidence:

  • complete transcripts (and final degree certificate(s) where possible). If your qualification documents are not in English, you will need to supply copies of your original language documents as well as their official translation into English.
  • A completed Supplementary Application Form (please upload when asked to add Personal Statement).

Guidance on completing your Supplementary Application Form: The Aura Centre for Doctoral Training is committed to generating a diverse and inclusive training programme. As part of our inclusive practices, the Centre adopts a process of assessing applications purely based on skills and attributes and does not consider any personal details. As such we ask applicants to remove any personal details from the Supplementary Form which is used by the Panel to assess and select applicants for interview. The form asks for details of your education, training and employment history as well as some specific questions about your motivations and research experience and interests. It is very important that you do not include any personally identifying information.

Applicants must:

Remove all personal references in their application. Specifically, do not include the following details: Names, age, country, sex, gender, religion, disability, race, sexual orientation

Complete all sections of the form in font and size Calibri 11pt

Indicate your interest in applying to a maximum of two Research Projects (you may apply for one or two, but no more than two)

Once fully completed, you should upload the form when asked for your Personal Statement, as part of your application through the University of Hull student application portal using the links below. (You will also be asked for your degree transcripts during the application process). Please do not send your form directly to the Aura CDT.


Application links:

Apply for a full-time PhD Scholarship with the Aura CDT.

Apply for a part-time PhD Scholarship with the Aura CDT.


View our webinar recording from 29 November
for information on our 2023 PhD Scholarships

For enquiries, contact