Research Studentship in Tidal Energy

3.5-year funded D.Phil Case studentship, available from EPSRC and E.ON (subject to eligibility requirements below).

Research Area

The Tidal Energy research group at Oxford conducts research into the design, assessment and deployment of marine turbines for renewable energy generation. The group works with a range of industry participants, from turbine manufacturers to power utilities. This studentship is an EPSRC Industrial CASE award jointly funded by EPSRC and E.ON.

The project is concerned with the influence of local bed variation on the performance of tidal turbines. Turbines will be modelled using 3D computational fluid dynamics techniques and their performance assessed in the presence of significant bed features; ridges and hills. Such bed features give rise to large-scale coherent turbulent structure that can significantly affect the performance and wakes of tidal turbines. We have a range of computational techniques available for turbine modelling and it is likely that this project will use a reduced order modelling technique called an actuator line method, which is a CFD based method that enables the principal effects of the turbines to be captured without the need to resolve the blade boundary layers. Through interaction with the project’s industrial partner E.ON the project will consider real channel bathymetries and likely turbine installation sites. Extensions to analytic and semi-analytic techniques to account for local bathymetric variations will also be developed.

The student will be a member of the Tidal Energy Research Group and will be supervised by Dr Richard Willden. Further information on the group can be found at

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Award Value

The EPSRC CASE studentship covers University and College fees at the level set for UK/EU students plus provides a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £14,726 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two and a half years.


Due to funding restrictions the EPSRC CASE studentship is available to UK/EU applicants only.

Candidate Requirements

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

  • A first class honours degree in Engineering, Physics, Mathematics or other relevant subject
  • An interest in tidal energy, fluid mechanics and computational methods
  • Good programming and analytical skills
  • Good English written and spoken communication skills
  • Excellent record of academic and/or professional achievement

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Experience of Computational Fluid Dynamics and scientific programming
  • Evidence of high self-motivation and good organisational skills
  • Ability to communicate scientific ideas clearly, both orally and in writing
  • Interpersonal skills necessary to contribute effectively in a large research group

Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship:

  • Candidates are required to send a covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date) to


Please quote RHJW-EON in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to

Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted.

Application deadline:  Noon, 21 August 2013

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