Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems


Further Information

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Find out what our postgraduates are researching

Undergraduate study

The Engineering Science major offers Australian and International students, the opportunity to specialise in chemical, civil, electrical or mechanical engineering for careers in the oil and gas industry.

Available projects

Opportunities exist in all of the current research streams in COFS. More information about available projects will be given once we have received your application. Please note that applications will be assessed every 3 months: 1st April, 1st July, 1st October and 1st December of each year. Your application will be assessed on the next assessment date and you will be notified of the results shortly after. You will then be required to apply for a scholarship.  Please see How to apply for information required and where to send it to.

Currently there are a number of special opportunities available.   

Fugro Scholarship in Offshore Geotechnics - an international company that specialises in the design of offshore foundations, Fugro will work with COFS to help sustain this highly successful research group, addressing key questions relating to the design and performance within the field of offshore geotechnics, reduction of risk and enhancement of engineering design within the offshore sector.  Please click here for further information.
Internal tide and soliton forcing on the Australian North West Shelf (ARC Offshore Hub) - The project will use field observations of soliton events to assess the induced mean flow, turbulence, and the occurrence frequency of events. This information will be used to investigate the induced loading on both through-the-water column structures and sub-sea architecture, plus sediment re-suspension and the resultant turbidity. You will work closley with associated numerical modelling work being undertaken as part of the broader project.
Modelling of steel catenary riser touchdown zones (ARC Offshore Hub) - This project will involve physical modelling of a scaled representation of a steel catenary riser (SCR) where it touched sown at the seabed. A new physical modelling arrangement will be used in our geotechnical centrifuge facility to simulate the whole life behaviour of this system, including the development of a seabed trench and changes in the stiffness of the riser-seabed contact. The observations will be used to develop an improved basis for modelling the riser-seabed interaction in strength and fatigue assessments of SCRs, with a view to expanding their current performance envelope.
Whole life response of foundations for subsea infrastructure (ARC Offshore Hub) (geotechnics) - This project will investigate the whole life response of foundations for subsea infrastructure by considering the changing strength of the seabed in response to the loading regime over the field life. The project will apply a whole-life seabed strength philosophy to both traditional static subsea foundations and to tolerably mobile subsea foundations, which challenge the traditional paradigm that foundations should remain stationary. The project outcomes will lead to reduced foundation footprints for subsea structures, easing installation and reducing costs. Applicants with a background in numerical or physical modelling are encouraged to apply.
Integrated system design of foundations for subsea infrastructure (ARC Offshore Hub) (geotechnics/structures) - This project will address a more holisitic approach to foundation design for subsea structures through realistic representation of loads across the design interfaces between the geotechnical/pipeline/structural components, allowing for compliance of the system in relieveing displacement sensitive loads associated with thermal expansion of pipelines. The project outcomes will lead to reduced foundation footprints for subsea strcutures, easing installation and reducing costs. Applicants with a background in physical or numerical modelling are encouraged to apply.

Performance of anchoring systems for floating renewable energy devices (ARENA project) - The project will investigate the performance of anchoring systems for array of wave energy converters, with a particular emphasis on the anchor behaviour under multi-directional loading and snatch loading. The objective is to develop innovative foundation solutions and associated design methodology to reduce the cost of foundation engineering for the offshore renewable industry. The project will include a blend of physical and numerical modelling, with a strong emphasis on geotechnical engineering and some aspects of hydrodynamics. The applicant will join the Offshore Renewable Energy team at COFS and be part of an ARENA funded project in collaboration with Carnegie Wave Energy. The candidate will collaborate with the 11 academics and 4 PhD students working on various issues associated with foundation engineering for offshore wind turbines and wave energy converters.

Optimising the placement of wave energy converters in coastal waters

Historically, the location of wave energy converter (WEC) devices and arrays has been usually selected based on a relatively narrow range of factors (e.g. proximity to ports, grid infrastructure, device limitations).  However, in order for wave energy to become cost-competitive compared to traditional sources and other renewable sources of energy, the location of WEC devices will need to both maximise energy production while minimising cost.  While many WEC devices may perform optimally in deeper offshore waters where wave energy potential may be greater, these locations will in many instances decrease the value of the projects (e.g. subsea infrastructure, ship time to reach the site) and thus reduce the competitiveness with other renewable sources.  The PhD project will investigate how WEC devices can be optimally placed in coastal and continental shelf waters, based on how surface wave properties transform from the deep to shallow waters, how the dynamics of wave-device interactions vary under increasingly nonlinear waves, the device-device interaction within WEC arrays, and how WEC arrays can attenuate the wave energy reaching shorelines.  We seek a PhD student to conduct research within this topic area with a background in coastal engineering, oceanography or a related field.  The successful candidate will have some flexibility to develop a research project in this area using numerical modelling, laboratory experiments in a wave flume, and/or field data, and will also work to integrate their results with other PhD students and researchers focusing on WEC device foundation and mooring systems.  The candidate will join a growing marine renewable energy research group at UWA covering both the engineering and oceanographic aspects. 


Please note that available projects are not limited to these opportunities. COFS currently has several PhD projects available. For more information please see How to apply section.

For further details or to discuss research topics, please contact the COFS administration office.

Comments from previous postgraduate students

"The reason I left my home country, my family and my friends was to join the world renowned COFS to perform my PhD under Mark Randolph. During my research I could experience why this centre is so highly regarded in the (geotechnical) world. On top of that I made many new friends, got myself a family (in-law) and Australia allowed me to become a citizen as well. It is clear that COFS was for me more than just the place where I did my PhD, it opened up a new life for me."
Marc Senders, PhD student, graduated 2008

"COFS is an amazing research centre with top standard scholars, researchers and research facilities. My PhD research at COFS has provided an in-depth understanding of structural analysis and numerical modelling with particular emphasis on the stability of offshore pipelines".
Bassem Youssef, PhD student, graduated 2012