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Demand management and adaptive user-driven energy distribution in renewable micro-grids

Eligibility: UK/EU/International students with the required entry requirements

Award Details: £15000 bursary plus tuition fees

Duration: Full Time - between 3 years and 3 years 6 months fixed term

Application deadline: 30th June

Interview dates: TBC

Start date: September 2018

Informal enquiries are essential before application; contact Professor Elena Gaura to discuss this opportunity.

Introduction

Coventry University has been voted ‘Modern University of the Year’ three times running by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide. Ranked in the UK’s top 15 (Guardian University Guide), we have a global reputation for high quality teaching and research with impact. Almost two-thirds (61%) of our research was judged ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. By joining the University’s Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing (EEC), you will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and partnerships with relevant industry and other third parties.

The Project

Micro-grids augment the traditional approach of national electricity grids with local power generation and control; this potentially lowers costs and transmission losses. Some of the problems faced by communities when implementing micro-grids are to do with a lack of accessible tools for management and control. Management is needed to account for context dependent energy needs in a community served by a micro-grid. Control is required to allow non-essential systems to be powered when supply exceeds essential demands and essential systems need to benefit from power-up in critical situations.

The aims of the proposed PhD programme are to inform the development of wireless devices and tools to support integrated community-based micro-grids and micro-generation /distribution control; and map the current gaps in education and technology that make them inaccessible or difficult to apply in the context of displaced populations and refugee camps. The project will include the development of prototype micro-grid management and control systems—based around wireless sensing and actuation—which are fit for purpose in functional deployed micro-grids.

The successful candidate will work within the context of the EPSRC HELP-Refugee project, where a variety of sensor networks will be deployed for monitoring energy interventions (from mobile lanterns to micro-grids). During the project, you may need to undertake some field work, as well as taking up challenges that naturally come with interdisciplinary work that crosses the engineering and computer sciences domains. You will develop as a researcher, scientist and individual, through a structured learning programme that encourages you to use your strengths while gaining new skills. You will provide theoretical contributions to the field and have the opportunity to evaluate your work in real-life scenarios offered by the HELP-Refugee project.

Funding

  • £15000 bursary plus tuition fees - UK/EU/International
  • For the academic year 2018/19, any English student who is not part of a research council can borrow up to £25,000 to help cover the cost of their PhD tuition fees. Further details can be found here.

Benefits

  • Our research strategy is underpinned by a £250m investment in research and facilities
  • Dedicated Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability Development delivers high quality professional support for researchers, from PhD to Professor
  • Free training: research career planning, managing your doctorate, research communication skills, research ethics, research impact, research integrity, research methods and research supervision
  • Coventry is a member of the Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA), the largest multi-partner and only nationwide doctoral training initiative of its kind.

Entry Requirements

Successful applicants will have:

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with  a minimum 60% overall module average.
  • In the event of a first degree classification of less than 2:1, a Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at minimum merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at minimum merit level (60%), plus
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a three-year period of study
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

Additionally:

  • A relevant degree in Computer Science, Electronics, Engineering or similar
  • Strong and proven programming skills---essential
  • Experience in one or more of the following areas is highly desirable: embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, energy systems modelling, micro-grids, control, and electronics
  • Ability to work with real-life hardware systems and a desire to understand necessary fundamentals of distributed energy systems, renewables and mechanics/control
  • Desire to work in field, internationally.

Eligibility & Application Procedure

Eligibility:

All UK/EU/International students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found making an application page.