Research Studentship in Fast Finite Element Analysis for the Design of Offshore Foundations

4-year DPhil EPSRC studentship, available at Oxford University from October 2018 (subject to eligibility). 

The successful applicant will join the EPSRC-funded Renewable Energy Marine Structures (REMS) CDT program, which is organised jointly by Cranfield and Oxford Universities (

Research Area

Finite element methods are often employed in practice to support the design process for offshore wind turbine foundations. Commercial finite element codes - which typically provide a wide range of analysis capabilities - tend to be cumbersome and slow; this limits their usefulness for routine offshore foundation design purposes.

This project will develop simpler, faster, forms of finite element model, tailored for specific offshore foundation engineering applications. Bespoke algorithms and software will be developed, providing scope to optimise them for particular design configurations. The software will be written to exploit cutting edge hardware technologies such as Graphics Processor Units (GPUs) using the CUDA programming language, multi- and many-core processors such as Intel Xeon and Xeon Phi processors and potentially cloud computing services.

The project forms part of a significant portfolio of offshore foundation research being conducted in the Oxford Civil Engineering Research Group The project will be supervised by Profs. Harvey Burd and Chris Martin, together with Dr Wesley Armour from the Oxford e-Research Centre.

Further details are available at

Award Value

The studentships cover University/College fees at the level set for UK students plus a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £16,053 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further three years.


To be eligible for a full award (stipend plus fees) the student must satisfy the EPSRC eligibility requirements (found at

Candidate Requirements

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

  • A good first honours degree (first or upper second) in engineering, physics, computer science or other cognate discipline.
  • Experience in writing engineering analysis software (e.g. demonstrated by undergraduate project work or industrial experience).
  • Appreciation of design methods for offshore foundations.
  • Demonstrable interest on offshore renewable energy technologies.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.

The following are desirable but not essential:

  • Experience of programming for parallel computing architectures.
  • Experience and/or knowledge in geotechnical engineering.

Application Procedure

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

  • Covering Letter: This should describe why you are suitable for this project and for the REMS CDT, what you hope to achieve from the DPhil as well as your longer term ambitions.
  • CV including transcripts/records of marks from University level courses.
  • Contact details for two referees, at least one of which must be academic.
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 (use course-code RV_1). Further details about making a graduate application are available at
Please quote REMS18-FE in all correspondence and in your graduate application.
Information enquiries may be addressed to Prof. Harvey Burd, email: Note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted.

Application deadline: 19th January 2018