Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Engineering


A consortium of the Universities of Edinburgh, Exeter and Strathclyde , suppoted by the Scottish Association for Marine Sicences (SAMS) and HR-Wallingford is proposing the formation of an Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) in Offshore Renewable Technologies. This partnership offers a unique combination of experience in research, development and knowledge exchange with major industry stakeholders in offshore renewable energy and offshore engineering in the naval architecture and oil and gas sectors. This is complemented by the extensive experience of SAMS in the environmental and societal impacts of offshore renewable energy projects. Large-scale commercial deployment of offshore renewables technology will require development of new techniques and technologies to design, build, install, operate, and maintain devices in hostile environments at affordable economic costs and with minimal environmental impact. The drive to meet the UK's ambitious deployment targets requires a supply of highly trained scientists and engineers to deliver their skills across the sector. The consortium is ideally-placed to support the industry in meeting these challenges through a conjoined infrastructure, which begins in some of the best academic research centres with leading test facilities and extends through a unique combination of demonstration facilities, ultimately to test and deployment sites. The partner universities already collaborate closely through their leadership of UK and European flagship programmes listed below. We propose to form an IDC in Offshore Renewable Energy that will conduct internationally leading research, providing a vibrant training environment and delivering a body of high-quality post-doctoral staff to realise this opportunity. In addition to providing a solid background in professional, technical and transferable skills the IDC training program will develop a tightly knit cohort of highly skilled graduates forming a strong foundation for the future development of the sector. Their training will be innovative and multi-disciplinary, using a variety of delivery methods, and utilising unique experimental facilities (such as Strathclyde University's Wave/Towing tank and advanced materials development and testing facility, the new All UK Waters Combined Current and Wave Test Facility and existing tanks and flumes in Edinburgh, the offshore measurement systems (Wave and ADCP measurement array and surveying), South West Mooring Test Facility (SWMFT), accelerated fatigue testing facilities (DMAC) in Falmouth, and survey vessels in Oban and Exeter) and field study areas provided by the host Universities. Through established links with partner organisations including HR-Wallingford, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the National Renewable Energy Centre (NaREC), and the WaveHub, students will be placed and, wherever possible site-trained in large-scale test facilities, prototype demonstration and small-farm demonstration sites. The training will also benefit from the extensive experience of the consortium in advanced engineering analysis and simulation, and access to UK-leading computational facilities. The training package offered by the IDC will provide the students with unparalleled engineering experience in applied offshore renewable energy R&D.

Planned Impact

The Nation: The work of the Industrial Doctorate Centre in Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE) will ensure that UK industry is well supplied with highly qualified specialist applied scientists and engineers with skills and expertise appropriate to meet the sector's needs. This is essential if the UK is to meet national aspirations for 2GW installed capacity by 2020 and to maintain the development of the sector in the decades beyond. The IDCORE will ensure that the UK maintains an effective skill base to maintain its international lead. The Sector: The offshore renewable energy sector has grown rapidly in the last five years. Project and device developers have all indicated that there is a shortage in the key skills necessary to maintain their growth and that of the broader sector, which includes regulators, financiers, insurers and planners. Skill shortages in any of the key areas in the sector could act to delay deployment, which would be detrimental to the sector's rapid evolution into commercial viability. Graduates from the doctoral centre will possess the necessary advanced skills and experience to contribute immediately to their chosen activities within the new offshore renewable industry. The Industrial Partners: During their industrial training periods the students of the centre will be making a direct input to the advanced level activities of their industrial sponsor. They will, therefore, bring their skills and the benefit from their ongoing IDC training to direct application. Upon graduation, it is anticipated that the students' contribution to their sponsors' activities will be such that many will move into conventional paid employment, especially when the doctoral work is leading into commercial deployment activities. The partners will also benefit from the research skills of the academic supervision links with the IDC academic partners, all of whom have significant directly relevant expertise and experience. The Academic Partners: UK academia is acknowledged as being at the forefront of world activities in offshore renewable energy development and has held this prominence since the early 1970s. Participation in the IDC will help to maintain the communications between academic and industry, which is vital if the academic pre-eminence is to maintained into commercial deployment.


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