Reliability assessment of offshore facilities

A Risk-Based Digital-Twins Framework for Reliability Assessment of Multi-Purpose Offshore Facilities

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International


$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

The sustainable offshore development of seafood and renewable energy production systems in Australia is crucial for the Blue Economy development. Included in these prospects for blue economy growth are multi-purpose offshore platforms/facilities (MPOP), which can be realised through co-location and/or integration of seafood and renewable energy production systems. Such co-location/integration would have several synergistic benefits, including shared resources, efficient use of ocean space, less competition amongst other user groups of marine space, reduced operational and maintenance (O&M) costs from possible shared activities and reduced impact on coastal environments and ecosystems. All these benefits can be achieved if an integrated/co-located MPOP can operate safely and reliably. However, because of the different structural and operational specifications/limitations of the devices used for aquaculture and offshore energy production, the reliability assessment of the integrated/co-located systems is a challenging task.

An emerging field of research in the reliability assessment of novel systems involves the use of the Digital Twins (DT) concept. The pairing of the virtual and physical worlds allows the analysis of data and monitoring of systems to identify the problems before they even occur, preventing downtime. The DT utilises sensory data and physical models for replicating the structure and evaluating its reliability real time. The concept has been adopted by the aerospace industry for years for service-life management and optimisation of aeroplanes and space shuttles.

Implementing the DT framework, however,r is not straightforward because of the different structural and operational limitations of the aquaculture and renewable energy devices integrated within an MPOP and the lack of structural monitoring guidelines. Solving this issue requires utilising and coupling different environmental, structural and failure models, optimal utilisation of different sensors etc. The physical models used within DT frameworks are not certain and there are different degrees of uncertainty associated with each one of them. Improper use of sensors for structural and operational monitoring also increases uncertainty. Such uncertainties increase the risk of predictions obtained by a DT. This research intends to address the uncertainty within the DT components by means of risk-based reliability frameworks. The research project answers the following questions:

  1. What are the capabilities of the DT concept for the reliability assessment of MPOPs?
  2. What are the sources of uncertainty within the models forming an MPOP DT?
  3. How to quantify the risk associated with the identified uncertainties?
  4. What is the cumulative impact of these risks on the predictions obtained by a DT framework?
  5. How is it possible to minimise and mitigate these risks?

The project contributes towards a safer and more reliable operation of MPOPs in both exposed high-energy offshore and nearshore environments.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Vikram Garaniya


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend co-funded with BECRC of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants need to have completed one of the following degrees in Mechanical, Civil, or Maritime Engineering:
    • Australian honours degree with a First Class or 2A Honours or internationally equivalent degree.
    • Masters by research degree
    • Masters by coursework degree, with at least 25% research
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • In-depth understanding of Hydrodynamics and Maritime Engineering
  • Solid knowledge of materials science
  • Proficiency in a programming language (e.g. MATLAB)
  • Previous experience in statistical/probabilistic modelling

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact A/Prof Vikram Garaniya to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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