Optimisation of data in marine energy developments

The following opportunity is funded by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Full project title

  • Optimisation of data for use in planning marine energy developments

The project will be to design a model which can be used as an engagement tool to inform the siting and design of marine energy developments (e.g. subsea cables and marine renewables). It would integrate new and existing data on development constraints to allow an assessment of ‘best outcome’ based on economic, socio-cultural and environmental considerations.

The model would provide a framework to understand the type and level of data that needs to be collected and provided (by stakeholders), in particular relating to inshore fisheries, in order that a common understanding of current activities and interests can be identified. This would provide a mutually agreed platform between different interest groups to facilitate a transparent dialogue between stakeholders. The development of the model will require significant dialogue and data gathering with other marine users, in particular inshore fisheries.

The model would provide a framework to plan detailed deployment and positioning of infrastructure (including seasonality and design measures) whilst taking into account development risk, incorporating best economic layout (for the developer and bill payer) but  impacts on other interests (e.g. uses, users and environment). It would look to balance development costs versus societal benefits (local, regional and national).

The model would help to reduce development costs and risk by ensuring detailed planning considers broader impacts and consideration beyond those which are economic. This will help to provide an evidence base for the developer and decision makers that any proposal will offer best outcome for all users and uses. Additionally the model could be used to assign confidence to data sets to allow relative risk from different scenarios to be assessed. The model would also highlight where new data gathering could further reduce uncertainty and risk.

This approach could help to develop a universally applied approach across all marine energy projects to reduce the cost to the energy sector (including through expensive delays and objections), and the bill payer through optimal sighting. In addition it could offer wider societal benefits through reduced conflict, enhanced co-use and co-location.
Other project collaborators include Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission – part of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).

The PhD supervision team will be provided by Rachel Shucksmith at the NAFC Marine Centre UHI, Dr. John Doran; LYIT Letterkenny (co-supervisor) and Professor Paul Tett (SAMS, UHI) who will act as Director of Studies.

The project is expected to start 1 October 2018


Applicants must possess a minimum of an Honours degree at 2:1 and/or a Master’s Degree (or International equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Funding information

The studentship covers fees, plus a stipend at the RCUK level, for a total of 39 months (including writing-up).

Funding is available for students worldwide, however non UK/EU students will be liable for the difference between home/EU and international fees.  Click to view our current fees.

Students must be domiciled in the Highlands and Islands region during the course of their study to be eligible for funding. Students are expected to be based full-time at: The NAFC Marine Centre UHI.

Supervisory team

Professor Paul Tett (SAMS, UHI) who will act as Director of Studies.

Rachel Shucksmith at the NAFC Marine Centre UHI

Dr. John Doran; LYIT Letterkenny (co-supervisor)

Deadline for applications for this project is 5pm 22nd June 2018 (UK time).

Informal project specific enquiries can be made to: Rachel Shucksmith, Rachel.Shucksmith@uhi.ac.uk

This studentship is delivered through The Bryden Centre - a partnership of academic institutions and other stakeholders, supported by industry partners, delivering an exciting collaborative programme of advanced marine renewable energy and bio-energy research.