PhD Studentship: Robust Analysis and Optimisation Process for Virtual Flight Simulation of Very-fle

The PhD project is built around three technical objectives. The first is related to the development of the computational framework for robust analysis and optimisation using open-source software tools as well as in-house codes already implemented at the two host organisations. The second objective concerns the ability to deal with uncertainties in the weight and balance estimates, and to manage the widespread impact that this type of uncertainty has on the multi-faceted aspects of aircraft design. The third objective relates to the development of the flight control system that accounts for noisy measurements of interest quantities at few, discrete sensor locations, with the measurement quality being dependent on the type of sensors used. The design of an unmanned aerial vehicle will be assisted by virtual testing on a fixed-base flight simulator located at the University of Southampton.  

The proposed PhD programme will be completed in a split-site agreement between the University of Southampton, UK, and ONERA – The French Aerospace Lab.  

The successful applicant has an excellent background in physics, engineering or applied mathematics. Experience with programming is essential.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Andrea Da Ronch, Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 4787.  

1 Franciolini M, Da Ronch A, Drofelnik J, Raveh D and Crivellini A, “Efficient infinite–swept wing solver for steady and unsteady compressible flows”, Aerospace Science and Technology, 2017; 72: 217-229.

Funding and Eligibility

This project is in competition with others for funding; the projects which receive the best applicants will be awarded a full studentship. This 3 year studentship covers home-rate tuition fees and provides an annual tax-free stipend at the standard EPSRC rate, which is £14,777 for 2018/19.

The funding is only available to UK citizens or EU citizens who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship and not mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education. For further guidance on funding, please contact

How to Apply

Click here to apply and select the programme - PhD in Engineering and the Environment. Please enter the title of the PhD Studentship in the application form.

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