PhD Studentship - Ensuring Sustainability of Drinking Water Resources by Optimising Energy Efficiency for Desalination Techniques

University of Nottingham - Mathematical Sciences

Location: University Park
Supervisors: Prof John King (Mathematical Sciences), Dr Veerle Vandeginste (Chemistry)

The project aims to develop modelling approaches for optimization of the energy efficiency of desalination methods by using a whole systems approach. Current research focuses on the development on several aspects of a range of desalination techniques. Modelling of the expected economic outcomes and upscaling of techniques that are currently being developed will help to identify the most efficient and sustainable ways of desalination in future industrial scale applications. Data used in this study will be primarily based on published data sets and can involve cost analysis, production data from industrial scale desalination processes or experimental data from lab scale development of new methods (in particular those involving membrane efficiency and flow rates linked to pumping costs).

As will be clear from the description below of sustainability impacts, the area is rich with potential novel applications for mathematical modelling approaches. The focus will be on deterministic (partial-differential-equation) formulations able to describe the processes of mass and heat transfer in question, with distillation, reverse osmosis and electrodialysis each raising its own modelling challenges. That the student will need to address questions of upscaling and economic efficiency alongside the physics-based modelling will ensure he/she is equipped with an unusually broad and valuable skillset through the PhD programme.

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