EPSRC DTP Studentship - Offshore Geotechnical Engineering

open until filled
Natural Sciences, Engineering, Geology
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, United Kingdom

A position is available for a fully funded PhD project in the broad area of offshore geotechnical engineering. Potential project scopes could include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

"Whole-life" monitoring and modelling of subsea infrastructure performance

How does the operational performance of subsea infrastructure change throughout its design life? Can we model and predict its performance over a design life cycle? Can we develop techniques to economically monitor subsea infrastructure in order to verify our ability to predict its performance? Applications to focus on could include: the frictional behaviour of pipelines and subsea cables; the long term performance of monopiles for offshore wind farms; or the resilience of anchor systems for emerging deep water offshore floating wind technologies.

Intelligently automation of in-situ testing methods

In-situ testing in the offshore environment is expensive and technically challenging because testing locations are often remote and the seabed sediments are typically very soft and often inundated with biological deposits that significantly influence its mechanical properties. There are exciting opportunities to develop new sensors for offshore in-situ testing that are "intelligently automated" such that early measurements are used to refine the test protocol "on-the-fly", in order to extract the maximum amount of useable information for application in offshore infrastructure design from a single test.

Modelling the changing strength of soil

Seabed sediments change properties significantly under repeated loading. Fine-grained seabeds (clays) can both reduce and increase in strength over time, dependent upon the timescale of the loading cycle being applied. Coarse-grained seabeds (sands) can change relative density, due to rearrangement of particle packing, leading to drastic changes in operative strength. There is potential to develop constitutive models to better capture the changing strength of soil, and practical techniques to robustly implement them in numerical analysis techniques, with a view to them being more routinely utilised in day-to-day offshore engineering design.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree in an Engineering subject, preferably Civil Engineering/Mechanical Engineering. A background in soil mechanics, robotics, or computational mechanics is desirable. Specialist knowledge in, or experience of, laboratory testing, centrifuge modelling and finite element modelling is also an advantage.

EPSRC DTP studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for UK students or provide fees only for EU students from outside the UK. Further details about eligibility can be found at:

To apply for this studentship, please send your two page CV, a transcript and a cover letter detailing the potential project scope of interest to, with subject "Offshore Geotechnical Engineering - PhD", to arrive no later than midnight on Friday the 1st of February 2019. Queries about the post and potential project scopes should be addressed to Dr Sam Stanier at

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University's Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £60 fee for PhD applications. The applicant portal can be accessed via: The final deadline for PhD applications is 30 June 2019, although it is advisable to apply earlier than this.

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