Bath Cohort 5 student Vivien Maertens’ research visit destination was Porto in Portugal, where she was hosted by Prof Paulo Rosa Santos and Prof Tiago Ferradosa in the University of Porto’s Faculty of Engineering. Vivien’s PhD is on ‘Optimisation of Deep-Water Offshore Wind Systems’ with a special focus on internal waves (which can occur off the coast near Porto) acting on Floating Offshore Wind Turbines (FOWTs). This visit enabled her to benefit from the University’s research expertise in mooring lines and semi-submersible floating offshore wind turbines. Vivien was able to build on her PhD research to date and to obtain data for both new papers and chapters for her PhD thesis.

                                                                                                              A view of Porto from Gaia (photo courtesy of Vivien Maertens)




Vivien assessed her visit to be extremely beneficial, both personally and professionally. She relished experiencing a different university campus environment and working with new PhD students. She learnt more about breakwaters and renewables infrastructure in Portugal, considerably expanded her professional networks and went on a site visit to the company that had installed the FOWTs and wave energy converters off the northern Portuguese coast. Vivien made lots of new friends, learnt basic Portuguese and embraced both Portuguese and Brazilian cultures through her social contacts in Porto. Not least, the weather throughout her stay was fantastic! 

Vivien’s leaving dinner (photo courtesy of Vivien Maertens)


Vivien decided to extend her research visit for an additional month at her own expense to continue working on her PhD at the University of Porto. This extra time in Portugal enabled her to participate in the International Network on Offshore Renewable Energy (‘INORE’) symposium for young researchers, as the 2023 event was taking place in Viana do Castelo in northern Portugal. This opportunity has generated yet more professional connections, particularly in the offshore wind industry. 

Future collaborations with the University of Porto, and between the universities of Bath and Porto, are envisaged and the University of Porto is continuing to share wind and surface waves data with Vivien for her PhD. 

The INORE symposium 2023 group (photo courtesy of Vivien Maertens)