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Aerospace Engineering: Fully Funded EPSRC DTP PhD Scholarship: Bio-inspired gust and turbulence control studies for next-generation Urban Air Mobility aircraft

   School of Aerospace, Civil, Electrical, General And Mechanical Engineering

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  Dr Alper Celik  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Funding providers: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) DTP

Subject areas: Aerospace Engineering

Project start date: 

  • 1 January 2023 (Enrolment open from mid-December)

Project supervisor: 

  • Dr Alper Celik (Aerospace Engineering)
  • Professor Emily Shepard (Biosciences)

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Aerospace Engineering

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description: 

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Swansea University. The successful candidate will be working on a multidisciplinary topic.

Birds routinely fly in gusty conditions and close to obstacles, both of which challenge small engineered air vehicles. There is, therefore, significant potential for bio-inspiration to improve and optimise the design of urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles. Recent studies have shown how gliding birds reduce the effect of vertical gusts, but understanding how flapping fliers respond to streamwise gusts and turbulence remains an important knowledge gap with potential applications to aircraft. This ambitious interdisciplinary project will address this, using high-speed cameras, PIV, a motion-capture system and an onboard inertial measurement unit to characterise how birds respond to streamwise gusts and turbulence during flapping flight. Following this, the aim will be to investigate how bird responses to gusts and turbulence can be applied to conventional wings or rotors and to quantify the aerodynamic effects generated with these implementations.

This exciting research experience entitles understanding fundamental aerodynamics, developing novel flow control technologies for aircraft and possible collaboration opportunities with the industry.

The applicant will gain experience in:

  • experimental fluid mechanics/aerodynamics using state-of-the-art wind tunnel facilities and measurement techniques
  • experimentation with birds
  • understanding of turbulence and flow control strategies
  • working in an inter-disciplinary research environment

In addition, the successful candidate will be expected to submit publications to refereed journals and to present their findings at major international conferences. 


Candidates must normally hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline.

English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 5.5 in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations

Funding Notes

This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend of £17,668.
Additional research expenses will also be available.

Open days

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