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PhD Studentship - Project “tip-top”: Harvesting more power from the wind with smart closed-loop rotor control

   School of Engineering

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  Dr R Whalley  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


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 described below 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.

Our demand for energy is increasing, and as we transition the UK to a low-carbon economy we must turn to reliable and renewable sources of energy. In this experimental investigation, innovative flow-control strategies will be developed and implemented to create a ‘smart rotor’ to enhance the aerodynamic performance of wind turbines. Focus will be on harvesting even more energy from the wind whilst simultaneously minimising the unsteady mechanical loads experienced by the wind turbine blades. Initial experiments will be conducted on pitching wind turbine blades in a wind tunnel facility, followed by experiments on a fully instrumented scaled-down model of a wind turbine in a unique wind, wave and current facility which will be used to mimic the effects of the open ocean and thereby simulate an offshore wind turbine. 

Number Of Awards


Start Date

September 2022.

Award Duration

4 years.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)


Dr Richard Whalley. Dr Kevin Wilson, Dr Yu Guan and Dr Ian Vernon

Eligibility Criteria

  • Academic excellence 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.
  •  Academic excellence in an appropriate subject area relevant to proposed project.
  • The award is available to UK and international applicants.
  • If English is not your first language, you must have IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)

Newcastle University values individual differences and the diversity that this brings. We want to ensure that no-one is at a disadvantage because of who they are. We encourage applications from under-represented groups, and requests for flexible study (e.g. part-time) are welcomed.

How To Apply

Applicant should include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and include the advert reference number.

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create an account’. All relevant fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. You will need to:

  • Insert the programme code 8208F in the programme of study section
  • Select PhD Energy Materials as the programme of study
  • Insert the advert reference number renu2205 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • Attach a covering letter and CV, quote code renu2205, and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • Attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

Funding Notes

The studentship covers full UK/International fees and an annual living allowance of £15,609.
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