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  Monitoring and modelling of ground vibration activity from onshore and offshore wind farms

   School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

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  Prof O Laghrouche  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Background – the need to analyse seismic vibrations from wind turbines is recognised to be of growing importance as these renewable energy sources are further developed and promoted worldwide. Areas used as the location of wind turbine farms can create difficulties for organisations managing installations, due to the adverse effect of these seismic vibrations on their operating objectives. The continuous ground vibrations often occupy a similar bandwidth to these installations, and interfere with sensitive measurements at key frequencies. Consequently, the magnitude and characteristics of ground vibrations responding to various wind conditions are key components in determining the economics and expected power output of farms. Most publications on the analysis of seismic signals from wind turbines to date assume naïve models of the subsurface and the turbine as a seismic source, but these idealistic conditions are not honoured in practice.

The project - to address these challenges, and provide some clarity on the science, we aim to analyse data from wind turbine vibrations, and to investigate the seismic wave propagation using numerical modelling. A natural component of this study is the understanding of how best to represent the wind turbine as a seismic source, both onshore and offshore. To aid these investigations, we will also consider the tower and blade response to wind, based on previous finite element modelling. The study will include the coupling to realistic ground models, response to wind speed and direction, and will tie the results back to a database of observations collected from seismic sensors monitoring a real wind farm in the UK. This project will contribute to a better understanding of wind turbines as a source of vibration, the seismic waves that propagate, the extent to which waves decay with distance, and hence the critical radius of influence around such installations.


This project is open to all students, whether home, EU or overseas.

The successful candidate will have at least an upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate honours degree in the relevant subject area and ideally a Masters Degree. We may also consider candidates who can demonstrate appropriate alternative learning such as experience gained in the workplace or professional qualifications.

We recognise that not every talented researcher will have had the same opportunities to advance their careers. We therefore will account for any particular circumstances that applicants disclose (e.g. parental leave, caring duties, part-time jobs to support studies, disabilities etc.) to ensure an inclusive and fair recruitment process.  

How to Apply

To apply you must complete our online application form.

Please select PhD Civil Engineering as the programme and include the full project title, reference number and supervisor name on your application form. Ensure that all fields marked as ‘required’ are complete.

Once have entered your personal details, click submit. You will be asked to upload your supporting documents. You must complete the section marked project proposal; provide a supporting statement (1-2 A4 pages) documenting your reasons for applying to this particular project, outlining your suitability and how you would approach the project. You must also upload your CV, a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts and an academic reference in the relevant section of the application form.

You must also provide proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue). We require an IELTS certificate showing an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component scoring less than 6.0, or a TOEFL certificate with an overall score of at least 85, including reading 20, listening 19, speaking 20 and writing 21. Alternatively, if you have received an English-taught Bachelors or Masters degree from one of the countries listed on the UK Government Guidance under ‘Who does not need to prove their knowledge of English’, and it was obtained less than two years from your intended start date, you should provide evidence of your award that clearly states it was delivered and assessed in English language.

The primary supervisor for this project is Omar Laghrouche. Please contact [Email Address Removed] for further information or an informal discussion.

Please contact [Email Address Removed] for technical support with your application.


The closing date for applications is 22 March 2024 and applicants must be available to start in September 2024.

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Engineering (12) Geology (18)

Funding Notes

James Watt Scholarship
This is a full scholarship which will cover tuition fees (Home and Overseas) and provide an annual stipend (£19,237 in 2024-25) for 42 months. Thereafter, candidates will be expected to pay a continuing affiliation fee (currently £130) whilst they complete writing up their thesis.
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