Postgraduate study

Offshore Renewable Energy (Industrial Doctorate Centre) EngD

Awards: EngD

Funding opportunities

The EPSRC Industrial CDT for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE) is a partnership of the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Exeter, together with the Scottish Association for Marine Science.

IDCORE’s four-year engineering doctorate programme is a doctoral-level research and training programme, equivalent in academic standing to a conventional PhD, but achieved through research that is much more industrially focused. We recruit students from across engineering, science, technology, mathematics and other numerate disciplines. The integrated training programme in the first year will ensure all students are trained in electrical, offshore and mechanical engineering.

IDCORE addresses future challenges to develop leading technologies and train the world-class scientists and engineers essential for the UK to sustain its global lead in the ORE sector. It takes an integrated approach to the whole ORE system from the wind and oceans to the end user, with experts from many disciplines contributing to a taught programme delivered in a research environment using state of the art facilities.

Strong engagement with industry allows us to train the next generation of researchers and innovators to develop and deliver the necessary new technologies, know-how and capacity. IDCORE delivers:

  • A strong, focus on engineering, science and inter-disciplinary training to address the need to supply sustainable, affordable, and resilient energy contributing to industrial and economic growth while reducing carbon emissions.
  • Impact from excellent research in integrated vertical and cross-cutting inter-disciplinary themes from ocean to the end-user including: resource analysis; offshore energy generation & delivery technologies; data science & technology; materials science; marine science & environment; deployment and O&M strategies; autonomous technologies; bioenergy; energy storage; complementary energy vectors; energy policy; socio-economic impact; and, blue-energy literacy.
  • Training of research students throughout the full life cycle of research by providing an academic and industrial environment, spanning theory to practice and including responsible research and innovation, ethical engineering, data management, commercialisation, entrepreneurship, leader-ship and societal engagement skills.

You will be undertaking a project that tackles a genuine commercial problem in a real-world environment, offering the chance to develop both research and commercial skills. Projects are proposed by offshore renewable energy companies in areas agreed between the sponsoring companies and the IDCORE management in order to ensure that your work meets the standards needed for the award of an EngD. Students are matched with a research project at the beginning of the second semester of teaching programme (in January).

If you wish to apply, you are strongly recommended to read all information provided in the IDCORE website - in particular important notes on ‘How to apply’.

You will spend the first two terms attending an intensive programme of twelve taught courses delivered by internationally renowned academic staff from the partner universities.

These first two semesters will provide you with the skills required to get started on your research and to succeed in an industry environment. Practical courses teach important laboratory and fieldwork skills, while an integrated group design project will help you develop teamworking skills and apply your knowledge.

A guiding principle for the first year is that “this should not feel like more of the same” – IDCORE is not simply MSc-type training preceding a research phase. This is achieved by focussing on assessment strategies appropriate to both the level of study and a cohort-based approach (for example timed, open-book, assignments are used in place of written, closed book exams). In addition, the first-year course includes a group design project that is proposed and evaluated by industrialists.

Following the initial period of teaching, you will join a sponsoring company to work as a researcher for the rest of the programme. The industrial research phase is supplemented by six further courses (delivered through a mixture of both residential and distance learning).

At the end of the research project you will deliver either a doctoral thesis or a portfolio of related work that is examined for the award of an EngD in Offshore Renewable Energy, which is a joint degree from the Universities of Edinburgh, Exeter and Strathclyde.

IDCORE students will use world leading facilities across the consortium, including:

  • Edinburgh: FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility, the new FASTBLADE dynamic test facility, Edinburgh Computing & Data Facility, and ARCHER.
  • Exeter: FaBTest, South West Mooring Test Facility and Dynamic Marine Component Test Facility.
  • Strathclyde: Kelvin Hydrodynamics Laboratory and Power Networks Demonstration Centre.

Students will also access facilities through their sponsoring companies.

Our previous students have used ORE Catapult’s Nautilus powertrain test rig and HV electrical infrastructure laboratory, worked with wave machines deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre, on grid connected tidal turbines and offshore on large arrays of wind turbines. The partners also provide all IDCORE students to access their existing facilities including IT, library, general doctoral training and student support services.

The Kelvin Hydrodynamics Lab is one of the leading providers of testing services to the UK off-shore energy industry. The 76m x 4.6m x 2.5m tank provides repeatable and controllable conditions for testing of power capture, survivability, and fluid loading on fixed, floating, and subsea offshore renewable energy devices and components in waves and currents.

FloWave is a 25m diameter, 2m deep, circular test basin, located in Edinburgh. Designed for a very high degree of repeatability and controllability, it is the only facility in the world to combine waves and tidal currents in any relative direction. It is used to test wave and tidal energy converters, and floating wind turbines, at scales of around 1:30. An previous student, working with FloWave TT and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), created a library (used extensively by Wave Energy Scotland) of over 40 complex sea states that replicate conditions at EMEC’s Bilia Croo wave site.

Both laboratories deploy a wide range of state-of-the-art instrumentation, including above water and underwater motion capture and software-in-the-loop systems for simulation of wind loading on floating wind turbine platforms or the emulation of grid connected tidal turbine power trains.

The Dynamic Marine Component test rig (DMaC) is a purpose-built test rig that replicates the forces and motions which components are subjected to in offshore applications. This unique asset comprises a linear hydraulic cylinder for axial tension/compression and a headstock with three degrees of freedom to represent bending and torsion. Specimens up to 6 meters in length can be tested either dry or immersed in water.

The EPSRC funded Structural Composites Research Facility (FASTBLADE), currently under construction in Edinburgh, will permit the dynamic testing of a full-size tidal turbine blade (up to 10m long). Loading and unloading the blade using digitally controlled hydraulic actuators will enable accelerated testing during which blades are subjected to realistic forces and motions.

A UK first class honours degree, or its international equivalent.

We will also consider your application if you have a UK 2:1 honours degree and a MSc degree with distinction, or their international equivalents, and substantial relevant work experience.

We expect you to have a good understanding of one or more branches of science or engineering and some relevant research experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2020 entry we accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each section.We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.

*(Revised 21 February 2020 to remove PTE Academic from 2021 entry requirements. Revised 21 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition in 2020 and 2021 entry requirements.)

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

EPSRC/NERC funding is available to UK students or EU students who have been living in the UK for 3 or more years.

If you are not eligible for EPSRC/NERC funding then you are welcome to apply but you must demonstrate that you have a potential source of funding to cover your fees and living costs.

*(Revised 17 October 2019 to further explain funding.)

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Engineering
  • Sanderson Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FB

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.


Ideally one should be an academic reference and the other a recent employer reference. References must be dated within the last year, signed and on letter-headed paper.

Supporting documentation

In place of the “Research Plan” document, you are required to submit a single A4 page explaining why you think IDCORE should offer you a place.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School of Engineering
  • Sanderson Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FB