PhD Research Studentship: Investigating Climate Change Impact on Drinking Water Distribution Systems: Development of Novel Risk Assessment and Control Strategies for Adaptation

University of Sheffield - The Department of Civil and Structural Engineering (CSE)

The Department of Civil and Structural Engineering (CSE) at the University of Sheffield (UoS) invite applications from outstanding candidates for one competitive PhD scholarship opportunity.

The studentship will fully cover university tuition and provide a tax-free stipend for UK/EU students of £14,296

Start Date: 6th February 2017

Project Summary:

A fully funded 3 year PhD studentship is available to join the Sheffield Water Centre and the Pennine Water Group at the UoS. While necessarily open to substantial development and refinement the student undertaking this project will be central to the development of new Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) and management strategies to allow for the adaptation of Drinking Water Distribution Systems (DWDS) to climate change. This research will deliver information to transform the way water is supplied in our cities, in a sustainable and economically viable way by designing novel monitoring and management tools. This new knowledge will allow for estimating factors which contribute to the deterioration of the performance of the existence drinking water infrastructure and shifts in the way water is supplied. Ultimately, water companies will use this information and tools to recognise interventions needed as a result of environmental changes, aiding in the development of a resilient and adaptable infrastructure.

The student will utilise state of the art laboratory facilities, hydroinformatics and modelling tools available within the research group. This research will be closely linked to a recently awarded EPSRC LWEC fellowship “Uncovering microbial tactics in drinking water supply systems: using advances in genetics for countering the effects of climate change”. The student will also conduct fieldwork in real drinking water systems and information exchange activities with UK water companies.

The project will be supervised by Dr. Isabel Douterelo and Prof. Joby Boxall. The candidate will become a member of the multi-disciplinary Pennine Water Group:

Eligibility criteria:

To receive funding, applicants must be eligible to work in the UK with no restrictions.

The ideal applicant for this position must have:

  • A good honours degree (2:1 or above) in Civil or Environmental Engineering, Computer or Environmental Sciences or another relevant science subject
  • Knowledge about water distribution systems and water quality processes
  • Excellent IT skills and experience in using operating systems such as Linux, Unix and scripting languages such as Python
  • Experience in performing analytical and experimental tasks
  • Creativity and problem solving skills
  • Good interpersonal, presentation and management skills
  • Ability to travel for fieldwork and visits to industrial and academic collaborators in the UK and Europe.

In addition, desirable candidate criteria are:

  • Skills and experience in hydrology and chemical and biological processes in urban water systems

How to apply:

Interested candidates should email a covering letter and their Curriculum

Vitae to Miss Lindsay Hopcroft (

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Isabel Douterelo (

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