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  Synergising technological innovation and human competence for safe MASS operations


   Monday, July 15, 2024  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Net Zero Maritime Energy solutions (N0MES) has a 4-year funded PhD place available for an exceptional researcher. With the support of the University of Liverpool (UoL), Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and 33 maritime energy sector partners, N0MES PGRs will pursue new, engineering-centred, interdisciplinary research to address four vital net zero challenges currently facing the North West, the UK and beyond:

a) Energy generation using maritime-based renewable energy (e.g. offshore wind, tidal, wave, floating solar, hydrogen, CCS);

b) Distributing energy from offshore to onshore, including port- and hinterland-side impacts and opportunities;

c) Addressing the short- and long-term environmental impacts of offshore and maritime

environment renewable energy generation, distribution and storage; and

d) Decommissioning and lifetime extension of existing energy and facilities.

Ships are high-risk systems where precise coordination between technology and human expertise is important. The rapid pace of technological change not only surpasses the rate and depth of understating human competence and causes gaps in system comprehension, but also introduces complexities in human-technology interaction. This amplifies issues related to cognitive load, situational awareness and decision-making under stress, resulting in increased downtime and costs. This project aims to provide a new solution to the following research question: how to align technological advancements in ship autonomy with human skills and preparedness, to address the identified human-technology disparities and foster improved safety and efficiency in maritime operations. The research objectives are:

1) Identify the established and emerging technologies supporting different levels of ship autonomy and onboard systems automation, including but not limited to visualisation analysis software in navigation, risk early warning and prediction model, and the distributed autonomous navigation system based on Federated Learning;

2) Evaluate the applicability of the seafarer competence defined by the IMO’s STCW against the identified innovative technologies in different levels of autonomy;

3) Develop a new method to prioritise the innovative autonomous technologies in RO1 based on the maturity level of seafarers’ competence (evaluated in RO2), particularly with a focus on the scenarios in Level 2 (reduced labour onboard ships) and Level 3 (involving officers in shore-based remote control centres);

4) Create a new cost-benefit model that enables the provision of feasible and rational solutions to guide MASS autonomy developments by taking into account both the costs of technologies, the benefits of reduced labours, and the maturity level of technology-human synergy obtained from RO3.

We want all of our staff and Students to feel that Liverpool is an inclusive and welcoming environment that actively celebrates and encourages diversity. We are committed to working with students to make all reasonable project adaptations including supporting those with caring responsibilities, disabilities or other personal circumstances. For example, if you have a disability you may be entitled to a Disabled Students Allowance on top of your studentship to help cover the costs of any additional support that a person studying for a doctorate might need as a result.

We believe everyone deserves an excellent education and encourage students from all backgrounds and personal circumstances to apply. an appropriate field of Engineering. Exceptional candidates with a First Class Bachelor’s Degree in an appropriate field will also be considered. 

Click here for more information about the N0MES centre at LJMU, the LOOM research centre where the researcher will be hosted, and our research capability.

Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

The EPSRC funded Studentship will cover full tuition fees of £4,786 per year and pay a maintenance grant for 4 years, starting at the UKRI minimum of £19,237 pa. for 2024-2025. The Studentship also comes with access to additional funding in the form of a research training support grant which is available to fund conference attendance, fieldwork, internships etc. 

EPSRC Studentships are available to any prospective student wishing to apply including international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise of international students and they will not be charged the fee difference between UK and international rate.


Important Application Process
Candidates wishing to apply should send your application to Prof. Zaili Yang, with an email title “PhD scholarship in the N0MES CDT”. Please send the below: an up-to-date CV and a transcript, and a supporting statement [maximum 300 words] detailing; what inspires you within this project, how your skill set matches the project, up to 3 examples showing your commitment to science, piece of science that excites you & anything else to support your application.
Applicant Eligibility
Candidates will have, or be due to obtain, a Master’s Degree or equivalent from a reputable University in relevant subject.

Register your interest for this project

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