ORCA CDT OSW Aquaculture


Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore industrialisation, Resource utilisation and Climate change


Research specialisms

Offshore Environment, Climate Change, Fluid Mechanics, Physical Oceanography, Density Currents, Marine Science, Ocean Technology, Renewable Energy, Sedimentary Transport, Stratified flows.


Group lead

Professor Rob Dorrell

Email orcacdt@hull.ac.uk

The Challenge

The offshore environment is the frontier of industrialisation and resource utilisation and is highly sensitive to climate change. Multiple industries operate in offshore environments, their economic output and resource requirements both growing rapidly.

The worldwide ocean economy is valued at around $1.5 trillion per year, making it the seventh largest economy in the world. It is set to double by 2030 to $3 trillion.

Sustainable Blue Economy, Commonwealth.org

The combined risk posed by climate change and increasing offshore industrial activity is poorly understood. Seas, oceans and offshore industries are coupled by physical oceanographic processes; here research and skills training provide the pathway to ensure sustainable industrialisation and a resilient marine environment.

The Approach

The ORCa CDT addresses this challenge by training the required future leaders with the research and leadership skills, founded in physical oceanography and fluid dynamics, to enable sustainable use of the offshore environment and its natural resources.

The ORCa CDT aims to deliver over 33 PhDs through the world-leading partnership of the Universities of Hull and Cambridge, with the UK National Oceanography Centre (NOC). We will work closely with our academic partners and industry stakeholders to help meet sector challenges.

Students and academics on a north sea boat


  • Provide research and skills training to ensure sustainable industrialisation and a resilient marine environment.
  • Embed a transdisciplinary training programme, integrating theoretical, laboratory, numerical, and observational skills, within and beyond academe.
  • Establish a challenge-led research programme, based on the study of oceanographic processes and flows, that embeds researchers within key industries and sectors.
  • Develop a globally-leading research network and community, with reach.
  • Enshrine accessible research for all, through an inclusive recruitment strategy and knowledge exchange.

The Impact

Managing the combined implications arising from the increased use of seas and oceans in a changing climate is of critical concern to the United Nations. Research activities undertaken by the ORCa CDT will support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 6) clean water, 7) clean energy, 9) industry innovation, 13) climate action, and 14) life below water.

Research undertaken by ORCa CDT PhD students will contribute to sustainable seas and oceans by helping offshore industries co-evolve with advanced consideration and management of their two-way interactions with a changing environment. By working closely with various industry stakeholders, we will ensure that our activities help contribute to sector research, development and innovation priorities as well as the sustainability of both sector and natural capital.

Over three cohorts, we aim to train 33 PhD researchers from diverse backgrounds, creating future leaders with the skills to address new and emerging challenges in the offshore environment.

ORCa CDT sea excavator

ORCa CDT Partners

University of Hull Campus
Cambridge Uni unsplash
Scuba Diver in Deep Blue Sea