Victoria Bessonova, Jason Harrison and Lisa Somerville


University of Hull announces three new offshore wind PhD students in partnership with ORE Catapult

Three new PhD students specialising in offshore wind have begun their studies at the University of Hull, funded by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

The new intake, who will study at the University’s Aura Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), will help build on the Humber region’s growing skills base as a world leader in offshore wind energy.

They will work closely with ORE Catapult throughout their PhD research, gaining access to its wealth of knowledge and industry partners in the offshore wind industry.

The three PhD students funded by ORE Catapult are Jason Harrison, Victoria Bessonova and Lisa Somerville. It represents almost £150,000 of current investment from ORE Catapult – a figure which is planned to increase to up to £388,000 in the future.

Professor Dan Parsons, Director at the Aura CDT, said: “These three new PhD students will further strengthen the University’s reputation as a key stakeholder in the region’s push to become net-zero for carbon emissions by 2040.

“As a renowned provider of skills and expertise in low-carbon, clean energy, the University is proud to work with leading partners such as ORE Catapult, who share our vision for a carbon neutral future.

“I would like to thank ORE Catapult for their support in these new PhD opportunities. Without collaboration and partnership working, the Humber region – and indeed the UK – will simply not achieve its ambitious decarbonisation targets. That is what makes projects such as these so important.”

The research topics of the three PhD students have also been announced.

  • Jason Harrison – Fibre-optic sensors for cable lifetime performance monitoring.

  • Victoria Bessonova – The future of global offshore natural capital with climate change.
  • Lisa Somerville – Evaluating the impact of motion travel on cognitive ability of offshore workers: a VR experience.

The Aura Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment is a £5.5M programme funded by both the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Natural Environment Research Council.

It is led by the Energy & Environment Institute at the University of Hull, with partners Durham, Newcastle and Sheffield Universities.

Working closely with over 20 industry partners, including ORE Catapult, the Aura CDT invites high-quality applications for four-year doctoral scholarships.

These are fully-funded PhD opportunities to attract exceptional graduates to this pioneering industry.

Ben George, General Manager for Humber at ORE Catapult, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Aura CDT through funding for these PhD students. Their research will be vital as the Humber region looks to remain at the forefront of offshore wind innovation and expertise.

“Over the next four years, the students will work closely with ORE Catapult, and particularly the Operations & Maintenance Centre of Excellence in Grimsby – with direct access to ORE Catapult assets, experience with personnel and access to industrial partners and projects.

“We’re very excited to be involved as the Aura CDT deals with the critical interface between engineering and environmental sciences, providing research development and innovation solutions for the offshore wind industry.”

ORE Catapult is the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy.

Operations and maintenance activities make up almost a quarter of the lifetime costs of an offshore wind farm, and provide a huge opportunity for cost reduction through innovation of products and services.

Located in the Port of Grimsby, the Catapult’s UK Operations & Maintenance Centre of Excellence is building on the Humber region’s energy heritage and extensive experience of servicing offshore wind farms.

By bringing together offshore wind owners, operators, supply chain, industry leaders, regulators and academia, the O&M Centre of Excellence will work with UK industry to drive solution-focused innovation and improvements in O&M.

More information on ORE Catapult can be found here.

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