Micro-PIV Investigation of Seabed Reactions to Hydrodynamic Conditions and Energy Changes


The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Net Zero Maritime Energy solutions (N0MES) has a 4-year funded PhD place available for an exceptional researcher. With the support of the University of Liverpool (UoL), Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and 33 maritime energy sector partners, N0MES PGRs will pursue new, engineering-centred, interdisciplinary research to address four vital net zero challenges currently facing the North West, the UK and beyond:

a) Energy generation using maritime-based renewable energy (e.g. offshore wind, tidal, wave, floating solar, hydrogen, CCS);

b) Distributing energy from offshore to onshore, including port- and hinterland-side impacts and opportunities;

c) Addressing the short- and long-term environmental impacts of offshore and maritime

environment renewable energy generation, distribution and storage; and

d) Decommissioning and lifetime extension of existing energy and facilities.


The UK is resolutely committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions using renewable marine energy sources for electricity generation. It is crucial that the expansion of marine energy production does not cause substantial environmental damage or undermine environmental goals. Consequently, all new marine energy-related engineering activities must align with EU biodiversity protection and environmental conservation objectives. This PhD project aims to develop a micro-Particle Image Velocimetry (micro-PIV) experimental setup to investigate the effects of hydrodynamic conditions and energy changes in water on the chemical reactions in the seabed, with a focus on the levels of oxygen, various nutrients and the marine carbon cycle. The project intends to use high-resolution imaging and advanced microsensors to observe and measure the interactions between varying water flow dynamics and seabed processes. Through controlled lab experiments and natural environment studies, the project will gather data on how changes in water energy influence seabed chemistry, particularly affecting oxygenation and carbon dioxide dynamics. Image analysis and geostatistical methods will be utilised to process and analyse the micro-PIV data, aiming to quantify and model the spatial and temporal variability of these interactions.

The expected outcomes include a robust micro-PIV system that provides new insights into micro-scale fluid-seabed interactions, and a comprehensive analytical model that predicts seabed reactions based on hydrodynamic conditions. This research will contribute significantly to marine conservation efforts by offering a deeper understanding of how environmental changes impact marine ecosystems, thus supporting informed decision-making in marine management and policy. This integrated approach, combining innovative imaging technologies with advanced data analysis, promises to enhance our capabilities in predicting and managing the impacts of offshore and marine energy generation activities on seabed biogeochemistry.

We want all of our staff and Students to feel that Liverpool is an inclusive and welcoming environment that actively celebrates and encourages diversity. We are committed to working with students to make all reasonable project adaptations including supporting those with caring responsibilities, disabilities or other personal circumstances. For example, If you have a disability you may be entitled to a Disabled Students Allowance on top of your studentship to help cover the costs of any additional support that a person studying for a doctorate might need as a result.

We believe everyone deserves an excellent education and encourage students from all backgrounds and personal circumstances to apply.

Applicant Eligibility

Candidates will have, or be due to obtain, a Master’s Degree or equivalent from a reputable University in an appropriate field of Engineering. Exceptional candidates with a First Class Bachelor’s Degree in an appropriate field will also be considered.


Application Process

Candidates wishing to apply should complete the University of Liverpool application form [How to apply for a PhD - University of Liverpool] applying for a PhD in Civil Engineering and uploading: Degree Certificates & Transcripts, an up-to-date CV, two academic references and a supporting statement [maximum 300 words] detailing; what inspires you within this project, how your skill set matches the project, up to 3 examples showing your commitment to science, piece of science that excites you & anything else to support your application


Candidates wishing to discuss the research project should contact the primary supervisor [m.mousavi-nezhad@liverpool.ac.uk], those wishing to discuss the application process should discuss this with the CDT Manager Matt Fulton [n0mescdt@liverpool.ac.uk].


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Funded studentship

The EPSRC funded Studentship will cover full tuition fees of £4,786 per year and pay a maintenance grant for 4 years, starting at the UKRI minimum of £19,237 pa. for 2024-2025. The Studentship also comes with access to additional funding in the form of a research training support grant which is available to fund conference attendance, fieldwork, internships etc.

EPSRC Studentships are available to any prospective student wishing to apply including international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise of international students and they will not be charged the fee difference between UK and international rate.