PhD Studentship: Multi-Scale Modelling of Flow Through Heterogeneous Geo-Materials

University of Nottingham - Mathematical Sciences

Supervisors: Dr Kris van der Zee (Mathematical Sciences), Dr Xia Li (Engineering)

Do you have a passion for sustainability? 

Would you like to apply mathematical research to help improve resource security? 

Modelling and Analytics for a Sustainable Society (MASS) is a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships programme at the University of Nottingham that aims to tackle the ongoing global problems of food shortages, water scarcity and insufficient clean energy by using mathematics to help understand and optimise resource use through predictive modelling and statistical analysis. 

Permeability of geomaterials is critical in predicting pollutant contamination and nitriation transport in groundwater. However, geo-materials are often heterogenous. The micro-defects and rock fractures provide channels for rapid groundwater flow, and consequently, the effective in-situ permeability could be larger than the lab measurement by several orders of magnitude.

This research will develop mathematical models to simulate the groundwater flow through heterogeneous geo-materials and the multi-scale homogenisation techniques that connects the field-scale permeability to intact rock properties and the statistics of micro-defects and fractures. The findings will inform and support effect groundwater management.

For more information, including details of other available research projects, please visit:

The Leverhulme Doctoral Scholars, who will be based in the new £7m Mathematical Sciences Building, will be exposed to an outstanding and vibrant research environment in mathematics, resource science, engineering and social sciences, with excellent opportunities for international engagement. At the end of their PhD, the Scholars will be eligible to apply for an additional one-year post-doctoral prize, funded by The University of Nottingham, to help establish their independent research careers. 

Summary: The scholarships are for four years and will cover PhD tuition fees for UK/EU students, plus a tax-free stipend of £14,553 per annum (2017/18 rate). While the scholarships may be held by students of all nationalities, the Leverhulme Trust has a particular interest in supporting UK or EU students. International students would be expected to cover the difference between international and UK/EU tuition fees (currently approximately £9,500 per annum).

Eligibility: Appropriately motivated students should have, or expect to obtain, a first-class or good 2:1 honours degree and/or a distinction or high merit at MSc level in Mathematics or a subject with a strong mathematical component (e.g. physics, engineering, computer science). 

Apply: Please visit the MASS web page and identify up to three projects of interest. Then apply via the University of Nottingham application page, using the personal statement section to indicate that you are applying to the “Mathematics for A Sustainable Society” programme, making sure to list your preferred projects, and uploading a CV of no more than two pages. 

Studentships are available from September 2018 and will remain open until filled, early application is encouraged. 

For any enquiries please email:

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Midlands of England