Wind & Marine Energy SystemsOverview

The Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) programme prepares students to make a difference in tomorrow's offshore renewable energy industry. Students carry out research across all areas of wind and marine energy engineering and work closely with industry across a 4 year period. The CDT provides a focused academic training programme in all areas of wind and marine energy.

Programme overview

A student’s time in the EPSRC CDT in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures is split into three parts: an academic training programme, a professional development programme (known as PETS) and a 3 year programme of research.

The Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures CDT has the following aims:

  • to prepare students to become tomorrow’s industrial and academic leaders
  • to carry out research across all areas of wind and marine energy systems and structures engineering
  • to work closely with industry 
  • to provide focused training aimed at developing a high level of understanding across all areas of wind and marine energy systems and structures engineering
  • to recruit students from a range of engineering, science and other mathematically oriented backgrounds

During the academic training programme, students take short courses (“taught modules”) to develop their knowledge and understanding as well as participating in mini-projects and group projects, thereby introducing them to academic research. They are supported by academic and research staff from the Universities of Strathclyde, Oxford and Edinburgh.

The rest of the 4 year period involves an in-depth research programme leading to PhD, DPhil or EngD qualifications. In the majority of cases, the student’s project is carried out in collaboration with an industrial partner.

The core of the CDT is a research project work supported by formal education and training, but there is also a strong emphasis on the development of a team-based ethos combined with professional and personal development and strong links to industry. The Institute for Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Institute for Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) have accredited the CDT to provide a professional development programme leading to Chartered Engineer (CEng) status. This was the first doctoral training programme to be given such accreditation and gives students the opportunity to work towards Chartered Engineer status. Students use their research, industrial-facing and outreach activities in the CDT to count towards their application.

Academic Training Programme Structure

In order to maximise flexibility and to cater for a broad range of student and industry needs, the CDT consists of two distinct training “Tracks”.

Track A is for students who wish to have their academic training programme to be concentrated in the first year of their 4 years in the CDT. Their research project is then completed over the remaining three years.  This means that a student has longer in which to choose their research project. The broad initial training programme can help to inform a student’s choice of research project.

Track B is for students recruited to defined university- or industry-based projects where the academic training is spread across the 4 years of research. On this Track, the academic training facilitates the doctoral research and broadens a student’s understanding.  This mode of delivery is better suited for students who are embedded/employed by companies following an EngD-type doctorate.

Each CDT cohort includes students from both Tracks and hence the academic training programme caters for both. The academic training programme is made up of 3 different types of modules:

  • All students complete the induction process and a set of 5 “Core Modules” within the first 5 months. These are based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. A further compulsory module is taken in Year 2, based at the University of Oxford.
  • A further set of 3 “Guaranteed Modules” are then taught in the next 3 calendar months. These run every year. Each Track A student will study these modules in their first year of the programme. Track B students can also study these modules at any point in their doctorate alongside Track A students.
  • A set of more advanced, “Specialist Modules” are offered from time-to-time in a summer school type format. The specialist modules are open to both Track A and Track B students and are taken by the students in the later years of their doctoral programme.

Every CDT student, regardless of whether they are Track A or Track B, are required to undertake and pass the 6 Core Modules and 3 other modules in order to graduate. Students may also take further modules to further their knowledge and understanding.

Each module is typically worth 100 hours of effort, with around 20 hours of taught material alongside tutorials, computer labs and visits. Coursework and oral exams are used to assess students’ knowledge, understanding and ability to reason.

Core Modules (Track A and Track B)

  • Wind, Waves and Tides in Offshore Renewable Energy. This module introduces the science of the energy resource.
  • Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics of Offshore Renewable Energy. Here the interaction of the devices and turbines with the fluid resource is studied.
  • Nacelle Mechanical and Electrical Technologies. This module tracks the power conversion from the prime mover through to electrical power onto the grid.
  • Socio-Economic and Environmental Aspects of Offshore Renewable Energy. Here the wider social, economic, innovation and environmental aspects are studied.
  • Safety, Risk and Reliability Offshore. This module looks closely at the operational aspects of the offshore renewable energy industry.
  • Introduction to Offshore Geotechnics. This module in Year 2 gives students an understanding of offshore foundations and the seabed.

Guaranteed Modules (Track A in 1st Year; optional for Track B)

  • Offshore Electrical Infrastructure. Here the wider electrical design of the wider electrical system and operation of the grid is studied.
  • Mechanical Loading, Materials and Design in Offshore Renewable Energy. This module examines the mechanical design of and materials within offshore renewable devices and structures.
  • Intelligence and Control in Offshore Renewable Energy Turbines and Devices. Here the control of wind, wave and tidal devices is studied in detail, allowing for energy capture and lifetime to be maximized.