Multi-million pound funding award for offshore wind power innovation

The University of Hull will lead a new research centre with the universities of Sheffield, Durham and Loughborough, advancing cutting-edge solutions to offshore wind challenges and driving the UK’s transition to Net Zero.

A £5.8m Government award, enhanced by offshore wind industry investment, will enable the consortium to harness talent, with opportunities for more than 65 post-graduate doctoral students over the next five years.

It will develop a diverse range of future leaders for the sector, focused on maximising the potential of offshore wind.

It is part of the UK’s biggest-ever investment in engineering and physical sciences doctoral skills, totalling more than £1bn in Government, university and industry spend, confirmed by Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan.

This will fund 65 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centres  for Doctoral Training (CDTs) to support leading research in areas of national importance including net zero, AI, defence and security, healthcare and quantum technologies.

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy Sustainability and Resilience led by the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute, will unite over 40 industry partners.

University of Hull Vice Chancellor, Professor Dave Petley said: “Offshore wind is a key part of the UK, and indeed the global, energy mix as we move to Net Zero.

“The centre will play a key role in both developing the skills needed to drive this exciting technology and in providing underpinning research across a wide variety of activities in this field.

“It will continue to provide a brilliant network of key industrial partners and universities, allowing the UK to enhance its position as a world leader in offshore wind energy.”

The new centre will combine the research power of each partner institution, drawing on academic strengths in engineering, environmental science, AI, socio-economics and human factors.

CDT director, Professor Robert Dorrell, said: “Our CDT connects students from a diverse range of backgrounds, from engineering, environmental science and socio-economics, to deliver resilience in research addressing critical sector challenges.

“With the programme supported by continuous engagement with our key industry, policy and civic partners we will help develop the future leaders offshore wind urgently requires for the UK to meet net-zero 2050 targets.”

The Hull-led centre is enhanced by an additional investment of over £12m from national and international offshore industry and university partners; investing in regional talent and skills and research excellence.

Over 40 offshore wind industry bodies have pledged their support for the new centre, including match funding for up to 30 doctoral studentships which will be co-funded by industry sponsors.

Jane Cooper, director of Offshore Wind for RenewableUK, will chair the CDT’s Strategic Advisory Board.

She said: “The CDT will deepen understanding on a wide range of key issues to support the development of the offshore wind sector, including the environmental impact of offshore wind, the economics and development of new supply chains, the growing use of automation and how to integrate offshore grid into the network.

“I’m confident the students who will be researching these areas will, in time, provide the expertise and knowledge to develop the innovative solutions and future leadership which are needed to deliver UK’s ambitious offshore wind targets.”

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