4th REMS Annual Conference

The REMS annual conference is a great place to catch up with colleagues who are spread all over the country (and Europe), and learn a bit more about the vast array of work on offshore renewables which is being carried out at the REMS centre. This year it took place at our new partner university – the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Alongside the talks we were able to spend a bit of time exploring the city and surrounding area.

We all met up on Wednesday for the field trip, which was absolutely brilliant and a lot of fun. We visited the AFRC (Advance Forming Research Centre), which is part of the University of Strathclyde and learnt about the kinds of material/mechanical testing which go on there. Afterwards we departed to the Falkirk wheel, which is a massive canal boat lift which takes the place of 11 locks! After the boat trip we were free to explore the Whitlee wind farm and exhibition, which is the largest onshore wind farm in the UK (2nd largest in Europe) and benefitted from a guided tour around the park. This was the highlight of the day for me as we were able to walk freely between the turbines and see many other members of the public doing so – it was really inspiring to experience the scale of the farm and the ways in which our research is applied in the real world.

Figure 1 – Falkirk wheel – it’s massive!

Figure 2 – Whitlee wind farm – it’s also massive! – this is us all next to a turbine blade!

Thursday was a lot more academically-focused, with presentation sessions from both REMS students and REMS industrial partners on the subject of “Optimisation of Offshore Wind Structures”. This was fascinating – covering all areas of the wind turbine support structure from the ground up: geotechnics, structural integrity, risk modelling and financial management. The day brought together speakers from numerous different industries and universities and it is incredibly valuable to see the impact of our research as part of the bigger picture. The day was topped off with a delicious dinner in the level 9 executive suite of the University of Strathclyde’s Technology & Innovation Centre, where we were able to network with the industry delegates.

Figure 3 – REMS students and staff at the conference

Figures 4 and 5 – REMS students after the conference – lots of networking going on between students

Friday was just family – whilst the REMS management team met to discuss the Centre’s progress, the morning sessions of student presentations were chaired by 4th year REMS students themselves! We each got a chance to present our work and ask each other questions in a relaxed and informal environment. This is a great chance to see what the other students are working on and who we can potentially collaborate with. After a packed few days of conference and before travelling home, a few of us took the chance to spend some time together while we were all in the same city and spent Friday night in the bowling alley before leaving Glasgow.

Photo : it was lovely to see each other again after so long and wind down after a long week

I thoroughly enjoyed the REMS conference – it’s a place for us to come together with a common interest but completely different research areas and learn from each other while having a lot of fun. It’s different to other conferences I’ve been to because we already know each other and every person’s topic has an impact on the field which we are all working in – offshore renewable energy.

Jessica Taylor