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Wave-current interaction modelling for marine and coastal engineering

Project Description

Coastal areas are heavily populated in countries around the world and are a source of recreational and industrial economic activities. Waves and tides interact with sediments in a dynamic equilibrium which leads to coastal morphological changes at different temporal and spatial scales. Natural or human-induced changes in this equilibrium may lead to an alteration of the coastline causing environmental or economic impacts. The capability to acknowledge the localised wave climate together with the underlying ocean hydrodynamics can thus have a major impact on a range of sectors spanning civil, maritime and marine engineering. Accurate modelling of the associated physical processes becomes essential for understanding effects on morphology and the benthic ecosystem.

The PhD project will concentrate on the development of multi-scale, parallel and coupled coastal hydrodynamics and wave models towards an improved quantification of simultaneous wave and current stresses exerted to coastal and offshore infrastructure. Objectives include:

• refinement of numerical modelling code to simulate wave-current interaction at a regional scale.
• simulate the sediment and bed load transport under the combined wave and current effects.

Some particular examples regard coastal breakwaters, tidal stream turbine arrays, wave energy converters and wind turbine farms with measured data being used to benchmark and research models such as Thetis (

The research will commence by focusing on the quantification of the environmental interaction of marine infrastructure and wave/current hydrodynamics using state-of-the-art practical and research software (e.g. SWAN and XBeach). The focus will sequentially shift towards the efficient coupling and development of open-source models. It is expected that these feature unstructured and multi-dimensional modelling capabilities towards capturing the hydrodynamic complexity that is prevalent in many of the applications experienced in practical ocean engineering scenarios.


A strong foundation in engineering or geophysical fluid mechanics, an interest in modern programming techniques (using Python, C or FORTRAN) and High-Performance Computing (HPC).

Candidates should have an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, or Oceanography, possibly supported by an MSc Degree in a relevant discipline.

To Apply please visit here:

Funding Notes

Tuition Fee and Stipend funding is available for UK or EU students. Applications are welcomed from International students, but the applicant must be able to fund the difference between Home/EU fees and International fees.

How good is research at University of Edinburgh in General Engineering?
(joint submission with Heriot-Watt University)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 91.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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