PhD Research Position: Develop new protocols for introducing complex cyclic loading spectra during fatigue testing of full-scale tidal turbine rotor blades @NUIG

Closing Date for Applications: 5pm on 29th August 2021

University: National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) in collaboration with Dundalk Institute
of Technology (DkIT)

Research Centre: MaREI, the SFI Centre for Climate, Energy and Marine

Contract Type: Fixed Term Whole-Time

Job Type: Research

Salary: This full-time PhD programme includes a stipend of €18,500 per annum and is tenable for a
maximum of 4 years. EU fees and research related travel are covered by the grant. Non-EU candidates
will require a non-EU fee waiver.

Duration and Start Date: 4 year funding, starting September 2021


The research is funded by Science Foundation Ireland through the MaREI Centre for Climate, Energy and Marine. This PhD project focuses on the development of new protocols for introducing complex cyclic loading spectra during fatigue testing of full-scale tidal turbine rotor blades. This project will utilised data from testing the largest tidal turbine blade ever tested under both static and 20-year equivalent life fatigue loading in the large structures test cell in NUI Galway, which were completed in 2020 through the finished H2020 MARINET2 and OCEAN-ERA-NET SEABLADE projects. The composite glass fibre blade tested was co-designed by the team at NUI Galway using their in-house BLADECOMP software and the blade was manufactured in Éirecomposites (Galway), partly funded by the H2020 Flotec project. A high fidelity digital twin of the tidal turbine rotor blade has been developed and validated by the team at NUI Galway. Data from the operation of Orbital Marine Power (OMP) O2 device, which is currently being deployed in EMEC (Orkney), will be able from Q4 2021 through the H2020 Flotec project, which NUI Galway are involved in. BladeComp is already in existence but is at intermediate TRL4 due to the lack of necessary fatigue test data to properly train its internal algorithm. This data from the O2 testing in-site in EMEC will be used, together with a digital twin of the tidal turbine rotor blades, to develop fluidstructure interaction models that will be validated using measured performance data from the operational trials at EMEC. The validated digital twin will then be used to investigate the impact various loading regimes can have on the structural performance of the tidal turbine rotor blade and determine load introduction procedures for converting continuous ocean blade loads into discrete loading points for hydraulic actuators in a test laboratory. A testing standard already exists for the industry for mechanical fatigue loading of tidal turbine blades (DNV-GL 164) and a second IEC draft standard (IEC 62600-3) is in preparation. However, the fatigue test recommendations of both of these are completely unverified since the technology needed to deliver high-cycle fatigue testing does not exist, and though low-cycle fatigue testing is practiced, it is not sufficient to generate confident measures for long-term blade endurance. A key output from the project will be informing international standard for selection of loading protocol for full scale structural testing of tidal turbine blades under mechanical loading.

Project objectives

• Develop new protocols for introducing complex cyclic loading spectra during fatigue testing of
full-scale tidal turbine rotor blades, and an improved BLADECOMP open-source software package for
translating test data into better stress simulation for improved designs

• Advance loading regime BLADECOMP software to accurately predict fatigue life of tidal turbine
blades, using data from laboratory testing and operational data.

• Develop standard for selection loading protocol for full scale testing of tidal turbine blades.

Project Team

Prof Jamie Goggins and his team in NUI Galway are world leaders in design, analysis and testing of tidal turbine rotor blades, operating a world leading test laboratory and having developed an advanced blade design and analysis software (BladeComp). Dr Tom Dooley and Dr Fergal O’Rourke with the team at Dundalk IT have experience of monitoring and modelling the hydrodynamic (for tidal) and aerodynamic (for wind) performance of turbines. Dr O’Rourke has produced several papers on tidal energy resources assessment and hydrodynamic performance predictions of tidal current turbines in various flow conditions. The successful candidate will be registered on a four-year structured PhD at NUI Galway. The PhD student will be co-supervised by Prof Jamie Goggins (NUI Galway) and Dr Fergal O’Rourke (DKiT) with support from Dr Tom Dooley (DKiT) and Dr William Finnegan (NUI Galway).

The MaREI PhD cohort is a vibrant and innovative research community, leading the way in Energy, Climate & Marine Research. Our network of PhD students are a key part of the larger MaREI research community, working towards a common goal of being the future innovators, change-makers, experts and leaders in our field.

Research excellence is at the heart of what we do. We provide a rich, holistic & multi-disciplinary learning experience for each research student in each of our partner institutions.


  •  A first-class honours degree (or equivalent) in mechanical engineering, civil engineering,
    structural engineering, energy systems engineering or a similar discipline
  • A masters degree in a related area is desirable, but not required
  •  Some prior experience in fibre reinforced composite structures is advantageous but not
  •  Excellent communication, organisation and interpersonal skills, including the ability to write
    concise, readable reports, and the ability to interact with other researchers
  •  A record of peer-reviewed journal publications is advantageous but not essential
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must show evidence of English proficiency (e.g.
    IELTS minimum 6.5, individual sections 5.5), please check the requirements at:

To Apply

Please send the below documents by email with “MaREI-PhD-Tidal2021 Application – (applicant first
and last name)” in the subject line to Ms Gráinne Morahan, ei.yawlagiun@naharom.enniarg
(1) Your C.V. (Please include details of your Masters & Undergraduate theses, if appropriate, and contact
details of two referees.)
(2) Full details of all university course grades to date
(3) Motivation letter (750 words maximum) that clearly describes why you are interested in and are
suitable for this research position
The closing date for applications is Sunday 22nd August 2021, with interviews taking place shortly
It is expected that the candidate will start as soon as possible after September 1st 2021.
For informal enquiries, candidates should contact:
Name: Prof Jamie Goggins
Email: ei.yawlagiun@sniggog.eimaj