PhD project

Improving the Reliability and Economy of Anchors for Floating Offshore Wind Energy

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Application deadline

30 June 2024

Offshore wind power is crucial for achieving the net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and improving local energy security. Floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs), which are secured to the seabed with mooring lines and anchors, are necessary to tap into the more consistent and substantial offshore wind resources available in deeper water. However, the geotechnical design of FOWT anchors is excessively conservative and thus prohibitively expensive due to the high levels of uncertainty that permeate the entire design process, including geotechnical site investigation and anchor capacity prediction models. Sufficient site investigation is crucial to reduce uncertainty in ground conditions and seabed design properties, minimising risk to an acceptable level without being overconservative. However, this is lengthy and costly in offshore settings due to the lack of vessels and labs. Uncertainty in site investigation propagates to anchor design where further uncertainties in anchor capacity prediction models are added, resulting in a heavily overconservative design, unless a statistically robust reliability-based approach can be applied throughout the design process.

This research aims to optimize the effectiveness of site investigation for the geotechnical design of FOWT anchors, resulting in a significant reduction in cost. This will be done by developing a reliability-based risk assessment framework. The uncertainties arising from the site characterisation process and anchor capacity prediction models will be evaluated, respectively. Building on these, a comprehensive reliability-based risk analysis model will be developed for FOWT anchors.

The proposed research will reduce the level of conservatism that needs to be applied in the design process and thus help make FOWTs more affordable and commercially viable. This research will remove a major barrier to the wider deployment of offshore wind energy and contribute towards achieving the net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 and mitigating climate change effects.

Diversity statement

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.

PhD support

See applying for a research degree for more information on the different stages of the PhD application process.

PhD fees

Fees for PhD and other research postgraduate courses

How to apply

  1. Email Dr Pengpeng He ( to:
    • send a copy of your CV
    • discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date)
  2. After discussion with Dr He, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Civil Engineering


Principal supervisor

Other supervisors


PhD funding

The Chinese Scholarship Council provides opportunities for Chinese Students to undertake a PhD programme in any research field at the School of Life Sciences and the School of Science and Engineering. Successful applicants will receive support to enter the China Scholarship Council (CSC) competition scheme.

Funding eligibility: China