Civil Engineering: Fully Funded SUSPRS PhD Scholarship: Modelling and Assessment of Nearshore Breaker Bar response to incoming waves (RS614)

  • DeadlineDeadline: 5 June 2024
  • WalesWales


Closing date: 5 June 2024
Funding providers: Swansea University Strategic Partnership Research Scholarships (SUSPRS) with Université Grenoble Alpes, France
Subject areas: Coastal Engineering
Project start date: 1 October 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-September)


  • Swansea University (SU)- Professor Harshinie Karunarathna ( and Professor Dominic Reeve
  • Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA)- Professor Eric Barthelemy and Dr Julien Chauchat 
    Aligned programme of study: PhD in Civil Engineering

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description

This is a joint PhD programme between Swansea University and Université Grenoble Alpes.

Established in 2012/13, the Swansea and Grenoble (UGA) Institutional Strategic Partnership was one of the first major strategic partnerships between a UK and French university. It is a unique, institutional-wide multi-disciplinary collaboration, which includes joint research and publication, student and staff exchange, joint PhDs and joint master’s programmes. Over 30 Joint Doctoral Degrees have been developed through the strategic partnership to date, across diverse subject areas, including medicine, engineering and law. Candidates spend 50% of their time in both Swansea and Grenoble and are jointly supervised by academic staff from both universities. Successful candidates receive a double degree from the Université Grenoble Alpes and Swansea University.  

Sand bars are a prominent feature of nearshore zone in coastal seas. They can cause coastal flooding and erosion when the trough is close to the coastline, can induce navigation and bathing hazards and contribute to hazardous rip current generation. Nearshore bars are dynamic features that strongly linked to wave breaking and associated sediment transport phenomenon. They evolve and migrate at a range of timescales, which makes them a key contributor medium to long term morphodynamic evolution of coastlines. Understanding the evolution of nearshore bars and the ability to accurately simulate bar dynamics is a key requirement of nearshore morphodynamic predictions. Although physical process dynamics involving the evolution of nearshore bars have been significantly improved during the last decade, knowledge gaps still remain. Numerical modelling can be used to fill those gaps however, the current coastal hydro-morphodynamic models are not capable of capturing bar dynamics accurately as a result of lack of accurate wave breaking and sediment transport formulations in them. This project will improve and validate the bar simulation capability of a globally used numerical coastal morphodynamic modelling system by introducing new wave breaking and sediment transport formulations. The primary aim of the project is to investigate bar dynamics and their impacts on short- to medium-term coastal morphodynamic change using the numerical model, thus providing scientific evidence for sustainable coastal management.

The project will be jointly supervised by Professor Harshinie Karunarathna and Professor Dominic Reeve from the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Swansea University and Professor Eric Berthelemy and Dr Julien Chauchat of the Doctoral School of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences (ED STEP) at Grenoble Alps University.

The student will spend approximately 50% of the time in Swansea and the remaining 50% in Grenoble. In Swansea, the student will be affiliated to the Energy and Environment Research Group (EERG) of the Department of Civil Engineering in the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE). EERG will provide coastal morphodynamics and numerical modelling expertise while FSE will provide high-performance computing facilities to the project. In Grenoble, the student will be affiliated to the Doctoral School of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences (ED STEP) who will provide expertise in fluid dynamics, especially wave breaking-associated turbulence.

For more details please see here:

Entry Requirements

Candidates must hold an MEng degree in Civil Engineering with 1st or 2:1, MSc in Civil Engineering, Coastal Engineering, Coastal Dynamics, Computational Engineering (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University). If you are eligible to apply for the scholarship but do not hold a UK degree, you can check our comparison entry requirements (see country specific qualifications). Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency. 

Applicants must hold a master's qualification to comply with Grenoble’s admissions requirements. 

English Language: IELTS 6.5 Overall (with no individual component below 5.5) or Swansea University recognised equivalent. Full details of our English Language policy, including certificate time validity, can be found here. 

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

Please note that the programme requires some applicants to hold ATAS clearance, further details on ATAS scheme eligibility are available on the UK Government website. 

ATAS clearance IS NOT required to be held as part of the scholarship application process, successful award winners (as appropriate) are provided with details as to how to apply for ATAS clearance in tandem with scholarship course offer. 

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in. 


This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend of £19,237.Additional research expenses will also be available.

How To Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

  • Course choice – please select Civil Engineering / PhD / Full-time / 3 Years / October
    In the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.
  • Start year – please select 2024
    Funding (page 8) –
    Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
    Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS614 - SUSPRS 1’

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

We encourage you to complete the following to support our commitment to providing an environment free of discrimination and celebrating diversity at Swansea University: 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Monitoring Form (online form) 

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via e-mail). We strongly advise you to provide the listed supporting documents by the advertised application closing date. Please note that your application may not be considered without the documents listed:

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK resident visa (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of EDI form submission (optional) 

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Professor Harshinie Karunarathna (

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please note that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.

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Who is eligible to apply?

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

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