Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

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.

Who this programme is for

We recruit students from across:

  • engineering
  • science
  • technology
  • mathematics
  • other numerate disciplines

The integrated training programme in the first year will ensure all students are trained in electrical, offshore and mechanical engineering.

Why Edinburgh

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 and delivery technologies; data science and technology; materials science; marine science and environment; deployment and O&M strategies; autonomous technologies; bioenergy; energy storage; complementary energy vectors; energy policy; socio-economic impact; and blue-energy literacy
  • training 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, leadership 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.

You are matched with a research project at the beginning of the second semester of teaching programme (in January).

Year 1 courses and project

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.

Working as a researcher

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
    • ARCHER
  • Exeter:

    • FaBTest
    • South West Mooring Test Facility
    • Dynamic Marine Component Test Facility
  • Strathclyde:

    • Kelvin Hydrodynamics Laboratory
    • 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.

Kelvin Hydrodynamics Lab

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.

A 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.

Dynamic Marin Component test rig (DMaC)

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.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

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

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

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, 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 (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

EPSRC/NERC funding is available to Home students.

If you are an EU or overseas applicant, you are welcome to apply but you must demonstrate that you have a potential source of funding to cover your fees and living costs.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

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

We recruit students to the programme on a monthly basis until all 10 places are filled. We are now closed to new applications for 2024 entry. Apply links will open again in October, for entry in September 2025.


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.

Please also upload a CV to any of the fields.

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