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The Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory

Fully Funded PhD Vacancies

SPARCARB: Lightning protection of wind turbine blades with carbon fibre composite materials

This project offers a European Industrial Doctorate (EID) and funded under the EU the MARIE SKŁODOWSKA-CURIE actions, Innovative Training Networks (ITN). There are four fully funded PhD studentships associated with the SPARCARB project, with the main partners being Global Lightning Protection Services A/S’ (GLPS), Denmark, and the University of Southampton (UoS), UK. Successful candidates will enrol for a PhD at the University of Southampton, and the project period will be split between UoS and GLPS, as well as having shorter placements with other international partners. A primary objective of the EID program is international mobility, consequently transnational mobility is a requirement for the appointed PhD researchers. Hence, at the time of recruitment, candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to appointment.

Two of the four projects will be led by academic staff from the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory:

ESR2: Electro-thermal modelling of carbon fibre composites (CFC) Based on a range of characterisation measurements undertaken on test samples and high current testing combined with thermal modelling the aim of this research project is to generate numerical models that accurately describe the (non-linear) effects of lightning impact on CFC behaviour. Candidates for this project should ideally have a background in electrical engineering or physics with a range of practical skills but with particular interest in computer-based modelling.

ESR3: Next generation polymer resin systems for CFC wind turbine blades The aim of this project is to evaluate the feasibility of developing next generation resin systems that have improved electrical and thermal features without loss of mechanical property. The potential use of nano-metric scale fillers to improve thermal and or electrical conduction will be investigated with the expectation of ultimately conducting a comprehensive range of tests on manufactured test coupons. Candidates for this project should ideally have a background in electrical engineering or polymer physics/chemistry with a range of practical skills and some experience of statistical analysis.

More information on the Recruitment Website.


Successful candidates will receive a generous stipend during their three year programme of work. For more information about the projects detailed above, please contact Professor Paul Lewin,, +44(0) 2380 593586.


Subsea Transmission: Economic and Environmental Limitations

The Leverhulme Trust has awarded the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute 15 fully-funded PhD grants, with the second group of five scholars commencing in October 2016. The scholarships are funded for 3 years at RCUK levels and each will include full-time UK/EU fees.  As part of this call, a unique opportunity is now available to work on a project which will be jointly supervised by staff from TDHVL, Ocean & Earth Science and Economics. 

Submarine High Voltage (HV) cables form the backbone of offshore renewable power transmission, and are increasingly important in national and international energy transmission across the globe. The installation and effective operation of these multi-million to billion pound projects are fundamentally controlled by the nature of the marine environment in which the cables are buried. Traditionally, environmental investigations (both academic and commercial) of submarine cable routes has focused upon route planning in order to identify both the “trenchability” of the seabed and the geohazard assessment, particularly associated with submarine landslides. However, recent work undertaken by the School of Ocean and Earth Science and the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory suggests that the nature of the substrate has a significant effect on its ability to transfer heat away from the cable. Heat dissipation has fundamental implications on cable design as it could affect: (i) transmission potential (II) the required individual cable conductor dimensions and even the number of cables required for power export (III) the potential for overheating and failure (this could be a particular issue in environments of high seabed mobility such that a cable believed to be buried at 1-2 m could end up being at a depth of 5+ m and in a more detrimental thermal environment to that anticipated) through measurement of temperature variability along the cable route once in situ it may be possible to identify the potential exposure of cables and hence an enhanced risk of failure. The economic implications of being able to increase power transmission; reduce cable size and predict or at least identify points of failure are as yet unknown. This project therefore aims to assess through cost-benefit and risk analysis the financial implications of reducing designed-in conservatism through an enhanced understanding of the seabed-cable interactions on the continental shelf.

For further information, and to apply, please refer to the SMMI Recruitment Pages at

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