Project code



School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Start dates

October, February and April

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, and will be supervised by Dr Mehdi RouholaminDr Nikos Nanos and Dr David Begg.

The work on this project could involve:

  • Experimentally and numerically investigate soil-structure interaction of offshore wind turbines. 
  • Soil element testing to characterise the soil properties. 
  • Evaluate the performance and behaviour of offshore wind turbine foundations during transient phase.

To decarbonise the energy system and achieve net-zero emissions, generating green and clean energy is highly requested for homes, agriculture, industry, and transport to reduce fossil fuels. One of the renewable sources of energy is wind and therefore on/offshore wind turbines were designed to generate sustainable energy by use of wind farms. Offshore wind turbines are currently being developed as wind sources are more achievable in offshore than onshore and in order to achieve net-zero, offshore wind turbines must be further expanded even in the seismic zones. Offshore wind turbines are supported by a different type of foundations such as suction caisson, gravity-based structures, monopiles, jackets, tripods, etc depending on various factors such as depth of water, soil profile, and the amount of energy generated. The loads acting on these turbines are normally wind and wave loads, however, in seismic zones, they may experience extra load such as an earthquake which may lead to liquefaction. The nonlinear response of soil along with the excess pore water pressure generation during liquefaction may cause severe damage ranging from tilting/settlement to complete collapse. During earthquake, deep foundations are more vulnerable during the transient phase when the soil transits from zero-liquefaction to full-liquefaction stage. Different methods of analysis may apply in this research such as experimental investigation using small-scale physical model testing and 3D numerical analysis. Soil characteristics which are required for numerical analyses can be obtained from the soil element testing. Interest in the investigation of current challenges such as the effect of the load combination acting on offshore wind turbines, the performance of the different type of foundations, and challenges of dynamic soil-structure interaction analysis motivate further research. 

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

You’ll need to have a good understanding of Geotechnical, Structural and Earthquake Engineering. Ability to carry out independent research, lab experiments (shaking table/soil element testing) and develop 3D numerical modelling is essential. You should also be able to prepare research articles.

How to apply

We encourage you to contact Dr Mehdi Rouholamin ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Civil Engineering PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code: SCES7640423.