Control of Launch and Recovery in Enhanced Sea-States, Engineering - PhD (Funded) Ref: 3217

About the award


Professor C Edwards, University of Exeter
Professor M Belmont University of Exeter

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in January 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,777 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.  The student would be based in Engineering in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

Currently many marine operations, such as Launch and Recovery (L&R) from a mother ship of small craft, manned and unmanned air vehicles and submersibles, can only be attempted safely in sufficiently calm sea-states. As an example, the L&R of a small craft from a mother ship typically involves the two vessels moving together in proximity (often linked by a bow-line) before the main physical connection of the two via a crane/hoist mechanism. Current practice is entirely operator experience dependent: the operator uses their judgment of the sea conditions to decide unilaterally whether and when to initiate a recovery. The objective of the project is to extend the range of sea-states in which existing wave limited maritime operations such as L&R can be safely carried out.

The proposed work is closely coupled to two EPSRC projects funded under the Launch and Recovery Co-Creation Initiative. This project represents a collaboration between Exeter University, Queen Mary University of London and the industrial partners BAE Systems, SEA Ltd, James Fisher Marine and the MOD.
The PhD studentship will mainly focus on the creation of a control scheme for the hoist and the development of a ‘disturbance observer’ to provide robustness to the closed-loop system.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. 
If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.
• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Research proposal
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• Two references from referees familiar with your academic work. If your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to quoting the studentship reference number.
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 17/10 2018.  Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus (date to be confirmed).

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 722730.  Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor.


Application deadline:17th October 2018
Value:£14,777 per year for 3.5 years
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Support Office +44 (0)1392 722730 / 5150