Aura CDT & ORE Catapult PhD Scholarship: Array scale sediment transport dynamics


Funded PG Dip and PhD


4 years (full-time)

Application deadline:

31 December 2020

About this project

The UK is committed to the use of offshore wind energy to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The EPSRC-NERC Aura Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment will enable delivery of this target by developing environmental and engineering solutions to key offshore wind sector challenges; thereby supporting a sustainable energy supply. In partnership with Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult), a 4-year taught and research industry-sponsored Aura CDT PhD is offered. The PhD directly addresses sector needs to understand array scale sediment transport.

Future offshore wind farm (OWF) arrays will be built further from shore. As a result, there is a need to advance both planning and design of foundations and electrical infrastructure to cope with greater depths, and more extensive exposure in the hostile marine environment. Built OWF array configurations are not optimised for the different predominant hydrodynamic conditions and large-scale, long-term sediment transport processes at future development sites. Therefore, different optimal design concepts to those adopted for current sites might be needed.

Little is known about array-scale longshore and cross-shore sediment transport budgets, sediment mobility and increased turbidity effects in OWFs in the UK and emerging markets. Moreover, by 2034, up to 1,000 turbines in UK windfarms will reach the end of their design life, requiring decommissioning work, which will trigger seabed instabilities and modify sediment transport fluxes.

This PhD will explore the following research questions:

  • How are the flow and sediment transport processes in future OSW sites different to those in current sites?
  • How would current array configurations modify those conditions? What are the potential impacts to array scale seabed dynamics?
  • How could cable networks be optimised from an array scale sediment transport perspective in future sites?
  • How could current cable, foundation and scour protection practices be improved to optimise future OSW array configurations?
  • How can current cable installation be modified to facilitate site decommissioning and future repurposing?

The post is available from September 2021 as a full-time position. You will join Cohort 3 of the Aura CDT in Hull, in the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary – the global centre for research, innovation and development for the sector. Initially, you will study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment, followed by a 3-year PhD supported by ORE Catapult.

Find out more through our webinar

Click here to watch a recording of our recent free webinar about funded postgraduate research at the Aura CDT. You'll hear from programme leaders, supervisors, and students and listen to queries from other applicants in the Q&A.

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Apply now

To apply for this Aura CDT / ORE Catapult PhD Scholarship, please complete the online form accessed from the links below (please ensure you choose the appropriate link for full-time or part-time study):

Apply here for a full-time place on the Array scale sediment transport dynamics scholarship

Apply here for a part-time place on the Array scale sediment transport dynamics scholarship

For further advice on making an application, please see the Aura CDT website

The University's Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme.

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The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help. 

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The Doctoral College provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the college is here to help you achieve your potential. 

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Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chain the slavery.

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This full-time ORE Catapult PhD Scholarship will include fees at the ‘Home/EU/International' student rate and maintenance (£15,285 per annum, 2020/21 rate) for four years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements

If you have received a First-class Honours degree or a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters (or the international equivalents) in Engineering, Geology, Geography, Oceanography or a related area, we would like to hear from you. Experience in handling large datasets and knowledge of statistics, scientific programming and/or climate models would be desirable.

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.

Please contact for further guidance or questions.


How to Apply

Please apply online which enables you to track the progress of your application and upload supporting documents.


Apply here for a full-time place on the Array scale sediment transport dynamics scholarship

Apply here for a part-time place on the Array scale sediment transport dynamics scholarship


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.
  • current Curriculum Vitae.
  • personal statement (please see guidance below on what you need to include in your statement).

Guidance on completing your personal statement

Your personal statement should be around 2 pages long. In your statement you should highlight:

  • your interest in the Aura CDT and the research proposal and how it fits with your career aspirations
  • how your previous study links with the Aura CDT and the research proposal
  • why you have an interest in offshore wind and the environment, particularly if your background is in an academic discipline not included in the list above
  • relevant work experience or other experience relevant to the Aura CDT
  • anything else you would like to tell us about yourself that makes you a great candidate.

Please also describe:

  • any relevant research experience (such as a project completed during a previous degree)
  • any academic work you have published or which is awaiting publication including venue/s
  • why you believe you are the best candidate to study with the Aura CDT.

International students must tell us about all prior UK study (whether completed/passed or not, including any short courses).