Research Vacancies

PhD Fellowship, Installation and decommissioning of large floating offshore wind farms

Job Posted: 12 Jun 2020
Closing Date for Applications: 17 Aug 2020
School: MaREI Centre
College: College of Science, Engineering and Food Science
Contract Type: Fixed Term Whole-Time
Job Type: Research
Salary: see advert for details

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Installation and decommissioning of large floating offshore wind farms 

Position Summary

This PhD Fellowship is part of the STEP4WIND project which is funded under the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie H2020 ITN Research Program. This project is focused on addressing the main challenges facing the large-scale deployment of floating wind turbine arrays. The successful candidate will join a team of 10 early stage researchers working under the guidance of leading EU academics and industry partners to accelerate the commercialisation of these highly promising renewable energy technologies.

The work of this PhD Candidate is focused specifically on delivering innovations related to marine operations during installation, O+M and decommissioning of floating wind arrays.

MaREI Centre Background

This PhD Candidate will be based in the MaREI Centre, Ringaskiddy, Cork, Ireland for a period of 18 months during this fellowship. 

MaREI is a key research centre within UCC’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI), which is an internationally recognised Institute for environmental research dedicated to the understanding and protection of our natural environment and to developing innovative technologies, tools and services to facilitate a transformation to a zero carbon and resource efficient society. The MaREI Centre is an SFI funded research centre headquartered in the ERI in UCC. The MaREI Centre includes eleven other Universities and Third Level Institutes, has 50 industrial partners and has research funding of approximately €55m. It combines the expertise of a wide range of research groups and industry partners, with the shared mission of solving the main scientific, technical and socio-economic challenges across the marine and renewable energy spaces.  MaREI is also funded by SEAI, EI, EPA, ERDF, EU, HEA, Marine Institute, DCCAE and IRCSET IRC, as well as through contributions from our industry partners. Researchers in the MaREI Centre have over 30 years of experience in conducting fundamental and applied research supported by competitively won national and international funding, and commercial contracts with government agencies and industry. MaREI’s strengths lie in the multi-disciplinary nature of its research teams and its links with the School of Engineering in UCC, allowing it to combine insights across areas such as MRE Technologies, Materials & Structures, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Observations & Operations, Coastal & Marine Systems, Bioenergy, Energy Policy & Modelling, and Renewable Energy Management.

MARIN Background

This PhD Candidate will be seconded to MARIN, Wageningen, The Netherlands for a period of 18 months during this fellowship.

The Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) is dedicated to furthering maritime understanding and knowledge since 1932. It is an internationally recognised authority on ship and offshore hydrodynamics, involved in frontier breaking research programmes for governments, the maritime and offshore industry, and navies. It provides testing services, simulation & training consultancy. It has a cluster of the largest dedicated maritime research facilities in the world, comprising array of basins, simulation tools, measurement equipment and production tools. A complete information technology infrastructure is in place for the support of research, production, business processes and knowledge management.

STEP4WIND background

STEP4WIND is a European Industrial Doctorate programme, granted under the H2020 Marie-Curie Innovative Training Network initiative (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019, grant agreement 860737). The programme runs between April 2020 and March 2024 and will deliver 10 PhD degrees, in joint supervision and training between the public and private sectors. The main objective is to address both technological and economical challenges related to the commercialisation of floating offshore wind farms.

Description of Research topic

The installation, O&M and decommissioning processes for fixed offshore wind energy represent up to a third of the total cost of an offshore wind farm due to the challenges and costs of working at sea.

In the context of floating wind farms, there is a significant added challenge due to the fact that both vessel and the turbine motions are impacted by the prevailing metocean conditions. The work of this PhD will be focused on identifying and assessing innovations with the potential to broaden operational weather windows whilst reducing the risk, cost and environmental impact of these marine activities.

In Year 1, the ESR will conduct a comprehensive literature review and rounds of engagement with key stakeholders to fully understand the practicalities involved during the installation, O+M and decommissioning of FOWTs. The ESR will also become acquainted with the numerical tools and methodologies to test innovations that can reduce the impact of these operations. The ESR will compile a long list of potential innovations to reduce impact, such as shared use of mooring systems, dynamic positioning during lifting operations, centralised control during towing, rapid mooring (de)coupling systems, sea bed preparation techniques, walk-to-work for floating systems, recoverable anchors, and artificial reefs for scour protection.

In Year 2, the focus will be on the 2 or 3 innovations with the most potential to reduce impact and a detailed impact assessment and viability plan for each innovation will be produced. The engineering methods developed at MARIN will be used to analyse the impact of these innovations on the transport and installation of FOWTs, as well as environmental footprint.

In Year 3, a detailed impact assessment and viability plan for each innovation will be produced.

Key duties and responsibilities 

The PhD candidate will conduct a specified programme of research aligned with the work of the STEP4WIND project and the expertise of supervisors in MaREI and MARIN. 


  • Minimum 2H1 (second class honours, grade 1) honours degree (or equivalent) in a related scientific or engineering discipline. Anticipated results are sufficient if the candidate has not completed their degree programme at the time of application.
  • Preferably a MSc. (or equivalent qualification) in related engineering or scientific discipline.
  • Programming/coding skills would be beneficial.
  • Demonstrable capability of working within a project team and ability to innovate.
  • Good communication, organisation and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent academic English writing skills
  • Candidates must have resided or carried out their main activity outside of Ireland for more than 24 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment.
  • Candidates must, at the time of recruitment, be in the first four years of their research careers and have not previously been awarded a doctoral degree.

Salary:  €3270 per month, plus mobility allowance and family allowance for eligible candidates, subject to taxation and country specific adjustments. Full details of allowance can be found here.

Duration: 36 months


For informal enquiries on the post candidates should contact:

Name: Dr Cian Desmond

Title: Research Fellow

Email :


Name: Dr Ilmas Bayati

Title: Project Manager Offshore

Email :

To Apply:

Please send

  1. Short cover letter describing your motivation for applying for the position and how your experience and expertise match the research topic.
  2. CV.

To Ms Grainne Lynch ( ), on or before the closing date 17th August 2020.

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