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About The Centre

What is the WAMSS CDT?

The Wind & Marine Energy Systems & Structures (WAMSS) is an EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), led by the University of Strathclyde, working collaboratively with Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh. The Centre aims to train the next generation of technical leaders, through doctoral studies, for the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) sector.

A student’s time in the EPSRC CDT in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures is split into three parts: an academic training programme, a professional development programme (known as PETS) and a 3 year programme of research. 

During the academic training programme, students take short courses (“taught modules”) to develop their knowledge and understanding as well as participating in mini-projects and group projects, thereby introducing them to academic research. They are supported by academic and research staff from the Universities of Strathclyde, Oxford and Edinburgh.

The rest of the 4 year period involves an in-depth research programme leading to PhD, DPhil or EngD qualifications. In the majority of cases, the student’s project is carried out in collaboration with an industrial partner.

The core of the CDT is a research project work supported by formal education and training, but there is also a strong emphasis on the development of a team-based ethos combined with professional and personal development and strong links to industry. The Institute for Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Institute for Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) have accredited the CDT to provide a professional development programme leading to Chartered Engineer (CEng) status. This was the first doctoral training programme to be given such accreditation and gives students the opportunity to work towards Chartered Engineer status. Students use their research, industrial-facing and outreach activities in the CDT to count towards their application.

Training Elements

Image by Zbynek Burival

WAMSS Programme Structure

Track A is for students who wish to have their academic training programme to be concentrated in the first year of their 4 years in the CDT. Their research project is then completed over the remaining three years.  This means that a student has longer in which to choose their research project. The broad initial training programme can help to inform a student’s choice of research project. A timeline showing the first year programme for a track A student is shown below.

In order to maximise flexibility and to cater for a broad range of student and industry needs, the CDT consists of two distinct training “Tracks”. Each CDT cohort includes students from both Tracks and hence the academic training programme caters for both.


Track B is for students recruited to defined university, or industry-based projects, where the academic training is spread across the 4 years of research. On this Track, the academic training facilitates the doctoral research and broadens a student’s understanding.  This mode of delivery is better suited for students who are embedded/employed by companies following an EngD-type doctorate. A timeline showing the first year programme for a track B student is shown below.



Track A students will be based at the University of Strathclyde for all 4 years of the CDT.
Track B students will be based at the University of Strathclyde for the first semester of the CDT. The remainder of the doctorate will be carried out at the host university: Strathclyde, Edinburgh or Oxford.

The Modules

The academic training programme is made up of 3 different types of modules: Core modules, guaranteed modules, and specialist modules. Every CDT student, regardless of whether they are Track A or Track B, are required to undertake and pass the 5 Core Modules and 3 other modules in order to graduate. Students may also take further modules to further their knowledge and understanding.

Each module is typically worth 100 hours of effort, with around 20 hours of taught material alongside tutorials, computer labs and visits. Coursework and oral exams are used to assess students’ knowledge, understanding and ability to reason.

Core Modules

All students complete the induction process and a set of 5 “Core Modules” within the first 5 months. These are based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. A further compulsory module is taken in Year 2, based at the University of Oxford.

Guaranteed Modules

The Guaranteed modules are based at Strathclyde and Edinburgh. Track A students will take these classes straight after their core modules where as Track B students can decide to select these as their additional modules at any point in there studies.

Specialist Modules

Speacilist modules are additional modules run by each institute, since Track B students are required to selected 3 modules, these modules can be used for this purpose. Track A students can also take these modules if they are relevant for their studies. 

Core Module List

Wind, Waves and Tides in Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) - This will be led by University of Edinburgh (UoE) (with some lectures by University of Strathclyde (UoS). The module will start with the basic physics of wind, wave and tide formation, including descriptions of the environment and resource. It will show how to characterise the probabilistic nature of ORE resources, which can then be used to evaluate energy conversion and loading.  The processes of measurement and site assessment will be taught. Key concepts of atmospheric stability, turbulence and shear will be taught.

During this module, the students will be introduced to different numerical tools that are used to model, assess or forecast wind, wave and tidal energy resources. 

Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics of Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) - This will be led University of Oxford (with some lectures by UoE and UoS).  The module will cover the fundamentals of energy extraction from wind, waves and tides.  Key concepts include lift and drag at a blade section level, actuator disc theory, streamtubes and coefficients of performance. Core components of the module will introduce the fluid mechanics of wind and tidal energy extraction, including common engineering design methods and blade element momentum theory. Turbine modelling exercises and assignment will use the industry-standard Bladed software.  Further lectures on tip losses, yaw losses, wakes, rotor design, vertical axis turbines, rotor scaling and innovative turbine concepts will also be delivered.

The module will also cover the hydrodynamics of wave energy devices with various prime movers (terminator, attenuator and point absorber), their equations of motion and hydrodynamic coefficients.

Nacelle Mechanical and Electrical Technologies in Offshore Renewable Energy  (ORE) - This will be led by UoS (with some lectures by UoE).  The module will cover the theory and design practice of mechanical and electrical power conversion in wind, tidal and wave devices.  This will cover the torque and speed conversion of the gearbox, the mechanical to electrical power conversion processes in the electrical machine and the power electronic devices and converters that are used to control the generator, converting and conditioning the electrical power. Further lectures will introduce the rest of the electrical power system.

An assignment designing and optimising a wind turbine generator (using a finite element software package) and MATLAB Simulink software will be used to simulate the machine and power converter. Some of the learning will be through visits to gearbox, electrical machine and power conversion laboratories at UoS and UoE, including state-of-the-art High Temperature Superconducting machine test rigs.

Socio-Economic and Environmental Aspects of Offshore Renewable Energy  (ORE) - This module will be led by UoS. The topics covered will include energy policy and economics, project planning and social and environmental impact assessment for both onshore and offshore project development.  As well as research leaders in energy economics and marine energy policy specialists teaching on the course, this module will include speakers from the policy team of RenewableUK who will discuss current and future policy and its uncertainty.  There will also be lectures on the legal aspects of energy. Risk and decision making under uncertainty will be examined.

Strategic Environment Assessments will be covered and lectures from professionals from Marine Scotland will discuss Marine Planning and sustainable development of ORE. 

Safety, Risk and Reliability Offshore - This module will be led by UoS. It will cover the fundamental principles of risk and reliability engineering and their application to the safe design and operation of offshore systems.  The module will follow the risk management framework as defined in ISO 31000, including both qualitative (risk matrix, failure mode effect analysis, fault tree analysis) and quantitative (systems reliability, structural reliability, Monte Carlo simulations) methods.  Numerical skills for uncertainty modelling will be developed through training on stochastic analysis and decision tree modelling tools.  The concepts of availability and maintainability will be presented together with their relevance to reliability towards developing effective maintenance strategies.  Requirements of formal safety assessment will also be covered allowing the planning of safe operations offshore. Lectures on robotics for remote inspections will be delivered.   

Offshore Electrical Infrastructure – lead UoS, which will introduce the fundamentals of power systems including features of conventional power systems and concepts of power flow analysis and protection. It will explore aspects of offshore electrical infrastructure such as HV and MV network architectures and collector arrangements. This module will be strongly aligned with the recently funded Electrical Infrastructure Research Hub which is a collaboration between UoS and OREC. Lectures on the design and testing of high voltage cables will be complemented by visits to the UoS HV labs and the OREC HV Electrical Networks Lab. Training on smart energy technology and concepts will be contextualised by a visit to the UoS Power Network Demonstration Centre.


Mechanical Loading, Materials and Design in ORE - lead UoE/UoS, will cover the basics of solid mechanics, the engineering and science of turbine materials, typical failure modes, and loads on offshore structures. The strengths in composite materials will be built upon through lecture and experiential training, including a visit to the FASTBLADE tidal turbine blade test facility. A visit to the Advanced Forming Research Centre (UoS) and Burntisland Fabrications yards will give students an insight into manufacturing processes for turbine and structural metallic parts. Colleagues at the OREC Blyth site will give a tour of the 100m blade test facility (capable of testing rotor blades for +10MW turbine devices). Building on environmental design criteria developed in Core 1, this module will examine wave loading on offshore structures, fixed and floating, and fluid-structure interactions. This will form part of an assignment to design a wind turbine structure.


Intelligence and Control in ORE Turbines and Devices – lead UoS, covering control at both the wind / tidal turbine / wave energy device level and at the farm level and the application of intelligent systems to improve the performance and robustness of these turbines and devices. As well as wind / tidal turbine / wave energy device (delivered by UoS), a variety of wave energy control approaches will be explored by staff from UoE. Subsequently this module will look at turbine sensor systems, condition monitoring, and the use of machine learning to diagnose faults and estimate the remaining useful life of the turbine. Lectures on robotics (including UAVs and ROVs) for remote inspections will be delivered by UoS Institute for Sensors, Signals and Communications. Subsequently, O&M hardware, practice and strategies will be studied. Tutorial exercises will include the use of real world SCADA and vibration data (from a wind turbine OEM) with signal processing feature extraction and machine learning algorithms to predict failures. A hands-on data laboratory will be used to introduce students to industry standard packages such as LabView. A wind turbine control assignment design will be run, introducing the students to industry design processes and packages.

Guaranteed Module List

Introduction to Offshore Geotechnics – lead UoO, will review essential soil mechanics principles including effective stress, drained and undrained loading, and critical state theory. Tests for measuring consolidation and strength properties will be introduced via laboratory exercises. Guest lecturers from Fugro will cover engineering geology, the seabed environment and offshore site investigation. Students will visit a commercial laboratory undertaking soil testing for a current offshore wind project. Some of the complexities of cyclic loading of seabed soils will be introduced.


Dynamics of Offshore Structures for ORE – lead UoS, will train students to assess the dynamics of an offshore structure, correctly modelling the main external loads and also quantifying the dynamic response of the structure to these external loads. Case studies and exercises will be used to conduct the dynamic analysis of offshore floating structures for floating wind including barges, semi-submersibles and TLPs.


Environmental Impact Assessment for ORE – lead UoS. This module will examine the process of identifying, evaluating, and mitigating the biophysical, social, economic, cultural and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made. GIS software will be introduced to, and used by, the students.


Offshore Foundation Design – lead UoO, will provide a thorough survey of current concepts and design procedures for the foundations of ORE infrastructure. After reviewing the different types of ORE structures and the loads that act upon them, the course will cover installation and in-place response for piled foundations, shallow foundations (gravity bases, mudmats, suction caissons) and jack-up unit foundations under combined vertical, horizontal and moment loading. Soil-structure interaction and the effects of cyclic loading will be covered.


Numerical Analysis for Offshore Geotechnics – lead UoO, will provide the knowledge base required for conducting detailed numerical analysis of offshore foundations, with an emphasis on the finite element method. The course will cover theoretical aspects (including constitutive modelling of soils), benchmarking of analyses, and applications. Students will use the commercial finite element software PLAXIS to analyse a range of offshore foundation problems, including shallow foundations and piled foundations under both working loads and extreme loads.


Advanced Fluid Mechanics for ORE – lead UoO (with Supergen ORE Hub partners), will explore detailed and complex fluid interactions between prime movers and the resource, and between ORE devices themselves; turbine-turbine as well as point absorber interactions. The module will introduce advanced simulation methods from potential flow for wave devices through to Computational Fluid Dynamics for turbine and wake simulation. The module will include grid generation, numerical schemes, treatment of turbulence, verification and validation, and high-performance computing aspects. The module will include an experimental exercise in the COAST lab at Plymouth. 


Scale and field testing for ORE – UoS NAOME with UoS, will address wave/tidal tank testing, wind tunnel testing and field trials for fractional scale and prototype ORE devices, and the assessment of their performance and survivability. The module will create opportunities for the students to make scale model(s) of renewable (wave, tide and offshore wind) energy devices and test their performance in the Flowave facility. Further tutorials, hands-on demos and data analysis exercises, alongside using other testing facilities at the consortium and partner organisations (e.g. the Curved wave tank and flumes at Edinburgh), and a visit to the EMEC ORE testing sites in Orkney.

Specialist Module List

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