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Research Fellow in Offshore Geotechnical Engineering

Civil, Maritime & Environmental Engineering

Location:  Boldrewood Campus
Salary:   £30,942 to £38,017
Full Time Fixed Term (12 months)
Closing Date:  Thursday 05 August 2021
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  1416021DA

Looking to take the next step in your academic career? Look no further - The School of Engineering at the University of Southampton has an opportunity for you to join one of the UK’s most dynamic centres for infrastructure engineering research and education on a fixed term 12-month contract due to funding restrictions.

You will be working on the SEAMLESS ‘SharEd Anchor Multidirectional Load Envelopes with Strength Synthesis’ project funded by the SUPERGEN ORE Hub and the Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies in Intelligent & Resilient Ocean Engineering.

The deployment of offshore renewable energy systems is key to achieve a carbon neutral economy. The offshore environment provides many opportunities to generate clean energy, by harnessing wind, waves and currents power. The number of floating platform projects strongly increased in the recent years, to deploy wave energy converters or unlock greater wind potential in deep water locations.  

Shared anchors, where several mooring lines are attached to a single anchor, has the potential to reduce floating wind installation cost, at the expense of a more complicated loading. This project will investigate the effect of combined tensile and lateral cyclic loading on (suction) pile type installed anchors in sand. More specifically, a geotechnical beam centrifuge will be used to simulate the effect of several loading scenarios on the behaviour of shared anchors. Element testing and X-ray tomography will be undertaken to complement the centrifuge results and develop a physically based design framework for shared anchors.

You will join the Offshore Geotechnical group at the University of Southampton and will be supervised by Dr. Benjamin Cerfontaine and Prof. Susan Gourvenec. The position is a fixed-term one-year appointment, with some potential to extend the contract after this period if extra funding can be secured. 

In your role you will: 

  • develop an experimental rig to reproduce shared anchor loading in the geotechnical beam centrifuge;
  • carry out a programme of geotechnical centrifuge tests investigating shared anchor loading
  • undertake element testing to characterise the sand material used in the centrifuge tests under cyclic shearing;
  • carry out X-ray forensic examination of the sand bed after its testing;
  • develop a design framework and tool based on the experimental data;
  • publish the results in high-quality international journal papers

To be successful you will have a PhD or equivalent professional qualifications and experience in geotechnical engineering (or within six months of completion) along with demonstrable experience of geotechnical laboratory testing, physical modelling and/or geotechnical centrifuge modelling (small scale or centrifuge)

This project offers a competitive salary and the opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary and collaborative environment, with opportunities to develop an international network, links with the offshore industry and multiple professional skills.

Equality, diversity and Inclusion is central to the ethos in the School of Engineering. We particularly encourage women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic, LGBT and disabled applicants to apply for this position. In recognition of our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science we were awarded an Athena SWAN bronze in 2013 and 2016. The University has a generous maternity policy** and onsite childcare facilities.

The University of Southampton is in the top 1% of world universities and in the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and being a globally responsible university and has recently been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.  Our vision is to embed the principles of sustainability into all aspects of our individual and collective work, integrating sustainable development into our business planning, policy-making, and professional activities.  This commits all of our staff and students to take responsibility for managing their activities to minimise harm to the environment, whether this through switching off non-essential electrical equipment or using the recycling facilities.

**subject to qualifying criteria

Applications for Research Fellow positions will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification.  The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon successful completion of the PhD.  Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

For specific or enquiries of a technical nature about the position, contact Dr Benjamin Cerfontaine at

 Application Procedure 

You should submit your completed online application form at The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Annabelle Trimm (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 4043 or email  Please quote reference 1416021DA on all correspondence. 


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We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Please note that applications from agencies will not be accepted unless indicated in the job advert.

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