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Decentralised Integration of Renewable Energy sources through smart grid Technologies (DIRECT)


Department of Engineering

Dr H Sun Sunday, January 24, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Durham United Kingdom Data Analysis Electrical Engineering Electronic Engineering Energy Technologies Machine Learning

About the Project

Project: Decentralised Integration of Renewable Energy sources through smart grid Technologies (DIRECT)

Department: Engineering

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. In addition to undertaking an individual scientific research project at one of the three partner Universities, doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities, for example in business, innovation and internationalisation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training. The start date is 1st October 2021.

This project aims to develop new secure virtual power plant (VPP) operation mechanisms for improving the power system security building upon existing EPSRC project, and test them at Durham Smart Grid Laboratory that is equipped with £1m worth of real-time digital simulators (2 RTDSs) and renewable energy emulators (wind/solar emulators). A focus will be placed on coordinating renewable energy with energy storage by exploiting sensor data using machine learning techniques. Moreover, we will examine the impact of new PV materials/technologies on the power grid, e.g., considering differing PV yield in low light conditions, and Tandem/hybrid cells (organic, inorganic or hybrid) leading to better power grid stability.

The project is supervised by Profs Hongjian Sun and Chris Groves. For informal enquiries please contact .

The application closing date is 24 January 2021 and interviews will take place in mid-February 2021. Please note that interviews, should they be arranged, will be online rather than in person due to COVID-19.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Our eligibility requirements are:

•      Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.

•      If required, an IELTS score of 6.5 with no component under 6.0.

·        Two satisfactory academic references.

•      Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Durham or elsewhere.

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system.

  • Create an account and click ‘Postgraduate Apply’ on the top ribbon.
  • Search for ‘EPSRC CDT’ in Course and select Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (EPSRC CDT) starting in 2021/22. 
  • Complete the application form, ensuring the following:
  • On the funding tab select ‘yes’ you are applying for a scholarship, select ‘Other’, write RENU/Sun in the name of the scholarship, and select 1st October 2021 as the start date. No scholarship documents are required.
  • On the project course details tab write RENU/Sun in Field of Study.
  • Please include an application letter summarising your motivation and suitability for the project.
  • Please ensure you follow all of these steps to ensure your application is considered.

Funding notes

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International students, and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2020/21, this was £15,285 pa) and full tuition fees. Also, significant additional funding is included to cover research costs and local, national and international travel such as conferences and exchanges. Note that these studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis between projects. We anticipate that up to 6 awards will be made for projects hosted at Durham. 

Please note there are a limited number of full international scholarships available. Further information about how EPSRC classifies international fee status please see Annex 1 of https://www.ukri.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/UKRI-121020-Guidance-International-Eligibility-Implementation-training-grant-holders.pdf


Funding Notes

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International students, and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2020/21, this was £15,285 pa) and full tuition fees. Also, significant additional funding is included to cover research costs and local, national and international travel such as conferences and exchanges.  Note that these studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis between projects. We anticipate that up to 6 awards will be made for projects hosted at Durham.
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