Simulation and Optimisation of Offshore Renewable Energy Arrays for Minimal Life-Cycle Costs

Fully-funded* 3-year PhD Scholarship, Department of Management Science

  • Number of scholarships 1
  • Value Stipend: £14,652 pa. Fees: Home/RUK/EU Fee waiver
  • Opens 13 December 2016
  • Deadline 28 February 2017
  • Help with Tuition fees, Living costs
  • Duration 36 months


Candidates are required to have:

  • An excellent undergraduate degree with Honours in a relevant business, scientific/technological or social science subject. The PhD project requires a highly numerate graduate with interests in renewable energy. Candidates should have at least a strong Honours degree or equivalent (a strong 2:1 Honours degree, or a B.Sc. degree with 3.3 GPA in a 4.0 system), or preferably a Master’s degree in a quantitative discipline such as industrial engineering, operations research, mathematics or computer science (amongst others). Experience in programming and fundamental knowledge in optimization are not essential but highly desirable.
  • A Masters degree (or equivalent) will be strongly preferred
  • Students may also have other relevant experience or skills which are relevant to this project
  • Candidates who are not native English speakers will be required to provide evidence for their English skills (such as by IELTS or similar tests that are approved by UKVI, or a degree completed in an English speaking country).

 Candidates should be available to take up study in the UK on 1st October 2017

*Whilst open to International candidates, please note that this scholarship covers Home/EU/RUK Fee rate only.

Project Details

To meet challenging generation targets for renewable energy, offshore resources such as offshore wind, tidal and wave energy are the focus of much R&I within both industry and academia. With no human populations and extreme environmental conditions, offshore sites have the potential to be developed as vast generating regions harnessing substantial levels of natural energy. A fundamental difficulty in developing offshore renewable energy (ORE) sites, however, is that the uncertain environmental conditions make accurately assessing the life-cycle costs of a site a challenging problem. In particular, logistical operations throughout the life of a site are subject to uncertain operating conditions, and therefore planning and scheduling these operations and estimating the resulting durations and costs is difficult. Similarly, the generating potential throughout the operation of a given site is dependent on the realised weather as well as the availability of each asset, and uncertainties in each of these make it difficult to accurately predict the profits to be gained from energy production. Decisions on aspects such as the size, layout and composition of a site are therefore difficult to accurately quantify and compare.

The aim of this project is to consider two overarching research questions:
1. Can optimisation models be developed to identify the best strategy for designing an ORE site?
2. Can alternative approaches to this problem be combined to enhance the decision–making support?


Further Information

This studentship, in the Department of Management Science at the University of Strathclyde, will seek to address the first research question above by developing alternative optimisation approaches to the ORE site design problem. A top-down approach will be taken, which seeks to develop an overarching decision-making framework for the ORE array design problem and to identify the multi-faceted objectives of this optimisation problem. This will then be tackled by decomposing the problem into a series of interacting sub-problems to be optimised, and then integrating the sub-problem solutions to provide a global solution. The first research question can then be expressed as two further problems as follows:

1a. Can a high-level model of the ORE LCOE minimisation problem be developed to identify the key components of this decision-making problem, and can this complex multi-objective optimisation problem then be solved effectively through iterative decomposition and aggregation? Furthermore, can solution methods and algorithms be developed to effectively combine the local solutions to these decomposed problems into a global solution to the aggregated problem?

1b. Can optimal layouts be effectively identified for the selected ORE site design sub-problems when uncertain weather conditions are considered?

The second research question will then build on this work, and explore ways in which alternative approaches to the above problems can be combined in an integrated framework to improve the decision-making process.


How to apply

At this stage, we are inviting applicants to apply for the scholarship only. The successful candidate will then be asked to complete an application for PhD study at Strathclyde. 

All applications should include:

  • a cover letter indicating the candidate's relevant skills/experience and how they can contribute to this research
  • a CV and relevant qualification transcripts.
  • two references (please refer to guidance on references)

When sending the above documents please use the following file-naming convention: fullname_typeofdocument

For example,







Apply now by uploading your documents here. Please note that any incomplete applications or applications with files that do not follow the above format will not be considered.*

*We will keep your details on file to use when any other relevent scholarships arise.