Engineering Doctorate (EngD) Research Opportunity Developing Advanced Visualisation Techniques for Renewable Energy Model Utilisation

Collaboration between the University of Reading and National Grid Electricity Transmission PLC

Based within National Grid Market Operations at their office near Reading and at the TSBE Centre, University of Reading

Closing Date for Applications: Monday 23 September 2013 at 12 noon.

The changing energy mix in the UK, in particular the effect of renewable energy as an energy source, faces certain challenges that need to be addressed to ensure its positive contribution; a particular challenge is the accurate prediction of renewable energy output into information that is useful (e.g. in supply forecasting and in Control Room decision making). Currently the UK’s National Electricity transmission system operator, National Grid plc. rely upon complex, data intensive production models to predict short term demand. Interpretation of these models using advanced visualisation techniques will therefore improve and simplify decision making.

The major academic contribution of this project is expected to come from an improved understanding of the impact and validation of current production models from energy generation through the use of appropriate visualisation tools. By developing visualisations of meteorological input data and energy output data from both onshore and offshore wind farms, the existing models that are used to estimate outputs and their use by National Grid operatives will be investigated. You will be developing novel visualisation presentations of the input/output relation and prototyping them from within National Grid Market Operations. The project will draw most strongly on techniques in computer simulation and visualisation, to include both 2D and 3D immersive projection techniques and displays. The research method development will also be informed by an appropriate understanding of both technical aspects of wind farm sources and their contribution in the overall balancing of energy sources and the economic impact of choices to be made during real-time operation.

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The research will be supervised by Prof. Paul Sharkey, Professor of Cybernetics within the School of Systems Engineering. Professor Sharkey’s expertise spans the fields of robotics, control systems, active vision and virtual reality. He is the Director of the Visualisation and Interactive Technologies Centre, and a member of the Cybernetics Research Group. Additional supervision will be given through the internationally renowned Department of Meteorology.

We are seeking self-motivated, pro-active and ambitious applicants with a background and strong interest in one or more of the following areas: visualisation techniques; 2D/3D graphics; mathematical modelling; and meteorological modelling. Applicants must possess a good relevant degree (2:1 or higher) or MSc. The successful applicant will be developed as a good communicator and will be driven to conduct academically rigorous commercial research from within the UK’s largest utility business.

4 year Package

  • Stipend of £20,000 p.a
  • All tuition fees are included
  • Expenses package included
  • EngD awarded by the University of Reading


Please note there are eligibility requirements, for more details refer to the EPSRC web site

Further Details

Academic supervisor: Professor Paul Sharkey (School of Systems Engineering) Further information on the TSBE Centre can be found at:


Applications should be made online by clicking the ‘Apply’ button below.
You also need to submit a full CV and Personal Statement to

Vacancy Reference No: P36-2013

Interviews will be held in early October for a proposed start date in January 2014.

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