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The University of Southampton
EconomicsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Research Projects


PhD studentship on Subsea Transmission: Economic and Environmental Limitations



The Leverhulme Trust has awarded the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute 15 fully-funded PhD grants, with the second group of five scholars across the University commencing in October 2016. The scholarships are funded for 3 years at RCUK levels and each will include full-time UK/EU fees. As part of this call, a unique opportunity is now available for 1 fully-funding PhD student to work on a project which will be jointly supervised by staff from Electronics and Computer Science, Ocean & Earth Science and Economics. The successful candidate will enrol into the Economics PhD program. The Department of Economics is part of the Faculty of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences of University of Southampton.


Submarine High Voltage (HV) cables form the backbone of offshore renewable power transmission, and are increasingly important in national and international energy transmission across the globe. The installation and effective operation of these multi-million to billion pound projects are fundamentally controlled by the nature of the marine environment in which the cables are buried. Traditionally, environmental investigations (both academic and commercial) of submarine cable routes has focused upon route planning in order to identify both the “trenchability” of the seabed and the geohazard assessment, particularly associated with submarine landslides. However, recent work undertaken by the School of Ocean and Earth Science and the Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory suggests that the nature of the substrate has a significant effect on its ability to transfer heat away from the cable. Heat dissipation has fundamental implications on cable design as it could affect: (i) transmission potential (ii) the required individual cable conductor dimensions and even the number of cables required for power export (iii) the potential for overheating and failure (this could be a particular issue in environments of high seabed mobility such that a cable believed to be buried at 1-2 meters could end up being at a depth of 5 plus meters and in a more detrimental thermal environment to that anticipated) through measurement of temperature variability along the cable route once in situ it may be possible to identify the potential exposure of cables and hence an enhanced risk of failure. The economic implications of being able to increase power transmission; reduce cable size and predict or at least identify points of failure are as yet unknown.


This project therefore aims to assess through cost-benefit and risk analysis the financial implications of reducing designed-in conservatism through an enhanced understanding of the seabed-cable interactions on the continental shelf.


For further information and application guidelines, please click here.


Please apply for the PhD in Economics Programme commencing 2016 entry, and email to confirm that you are applying for this scholarship.


For informal enquiries about the PhD program and research project, please contact Dr James Pilgrim ( from Electronics and Computer Science, Dr Justin Dix ( from Ocean & Earth Science and Dr Jose Olmo ( from Economics.



ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Fund and Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Bursary



PI Helen Paul

The two grants will be used to investigate the links between the World Heritage Site of Studley Royal/Fountains Abbey and a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, John Aislablie. Aislabie was blamed for his role in the South Sea Bubble crash of 1720 and briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London. The project aims to educate the public and National Trust guides about the Bubble and Aislabie’s role in it.


Public Engagement with Research Development Funding


PI Helen Paul

Others: John McAleer (History) and Margaret Makepeace (British Library)

The project investigates life onboard British East India Company ships. It is a public engagement project with the British Library.


AHRC The History of Financial Advice


PI Nicky Marsh (English)

Others: Helen Paul (Economics), Peter Knight (Manchester), Paul Crosthwaite (Edinburgh) and James Taylor (Lancaster)

This large project will investigate how financial advice has been constructed, disseminated and received over the early modern and modern periods.






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