Research Studentship in Tidal Stream Energy

3.5-year D.Phil studentship, available from 11th October 2015 (subject to eligibility requirements below).

Research Area

This studentship, fully funded by Alstom Ocean Energy, is to investigate and develop pitch control strategies for tidal stream turbines. Unsteady loading due to once per revolution and higher frequencies are a source of damaging load events and contribute significantly to rotor fatigue damage rates. The project will use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to simulate and develop pitch control strategies, whereby each turbine blade is individually pitched as it completes its rotation, in order to alleviate the cyclical loading caused by shear profiles, tower passing, array end effects, seabed and sea surface proximity. Blade resolved 3D CFD, using large-scale supercomputing facilities, will be used to develop a better understanding of the interaction of each blade with the flow as it pitches whilst rotating. This will lead to the development of pitch control strategies that balance unsteady load relief against performance reduction, and to reduced order engineering models of individual pitch control suitable for turbine rotor design processes.

The successful applicant will join the Tidal Energy Research group and be supervised by Professor Richard Willden. The group of around ten fluid dynamicists conducts research at all scales of the tidal energy problem from blade to basin scale flows. Further information about the work of the group can be found at

Award Value

The studentship covers University and college fees at the level set for UK/EU students plus a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £14,400 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two and a half years.


This studentship is available to all applicants but the University and college fees are covered only at the UK/EU rate.  Therefore overseas students would have to provide the difference between the UK/EU and the overseas student rates for University and college fees from some other source, such as a scholarship or personal funds.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first class honours degree in Engineering, Physics or Mathematics;
  • Strong academic background and interest in fluid mechanics;
  • Experience with developing and using Computational Fluid Dynamics;
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills;

The following criteria are desirable but not essential: 

  • Numerical programming experience;
  • An interest in marine energy;

Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship, candidates should send the following documents to

  • CV
  • Covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the DPhil and your research experience to date)
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees

NOTE: Candidates are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria available at and a full graduate application must be made at the same time as applying for this studentship.  Your studentship application will not be considered until you have submitted a graduate application. Further details about making a graduate application are available at

Please quote this code: RHJW-Alstom in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application. Applicants should specify St Edmund Hall as their choice of college in their graduate application.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted. 

Application deadline:  12 noon on 29th July 2015