Design of smarter powertrains for offshore wind turbines

This is an exciting opportunity to join a growing research group in offshore wind powertrain technology at the University of Edinburgh. According to the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, the UK aims to have installed 30GW of offshore wind by 2030, leading to >27,000 jobs. You will be guided and supported by Prof. McDonald (who recently re-joined the University of Edinburgh as Chair of Renewable Energy Technology) and Prof. Mueller (Chair of Electrical Machines) who have a long track record of working together and of mentoring and graduating doctoral students.
This PhD is part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures (CDT WAMSS), which is jointly led by the Universities of Strathclyde, Edinburgh and Oxford. In the first year of study, you will attend several courses in wind and marine energy equivalent to a master-degree. This training will give you a broad background which will complement the in-depth research phase of the PhD.
During the first year, you along with the supervisors and industrial partners will jointly develop and refine a detailed research proposal. Suggested research topics for “smarter powertrains for offshore wind turbines” include:
1.    Mechanical modelling of direct-drive wind turbine generators
•    Spatially modular generators and power converters for air gap control
•    Shape optimization of cast structures for direct drive generators
•    Practical use of lightweight materials in direct drive generators
2.    Powertrain and Generator Design and Optimisation
•    Ferrofluids for liquid iron-cored generators
•    Mechanical air gap bearings and their role as magnetically active components
3.    Reliable Wind Turbine Powertrains
•    Spatial comparison for direct drive generator condition monitoring
•    Air gap inference and generator structural sensing

Further Information: 

For more information on the CDT WAMSS, see

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Closing Date: 

Monday, May 31, 2021

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


This scholarship is funded by the CDT in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures. Funds are only available to Home (UK and EU students with settled/pre-settled status who have lived in the UK for 3+ years) and EU students, if starting before 1st August 2021.  If starting after 1st August 2021, funding is only available to Home students (UK and EU students with settled/pre-settled status who have lived in the UK for 3+ years). Alternatively, self or externally funded International applicants are welcome to apply.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: