STREAM IDC EngD Research Engineer Studentship in: Real-time Water Quality Assessment and Metrics for Strategic Water Distribution System Operation and Intervention

University of Sheffield - Department of Civil and Structural Engineering (Pennine Water Group) in collaboration with United Utilities

Stipend: This post will fully cover university tuition and provide a tax-free stipend over a four-year duration for UK students of £19,000 per year for the first two years, rising to £20,000 per year thereafter

Start Date: 24th September October 2018 (Contract Duration 4 years)

Project summary

The aim of the project is to enable United Utilities to develop and integrate technologies for improved operational management of water quality in water distribution systems (WDS) such that:  

  1. Longer term trends in hydraulics (including transient behaviour) and water quality are used to analyse discolouration risk
  2. Long term monitoring data (by tracking correlations and automated metrics over time) is used to inform intervention options
  3. Utilising the 'fingerprints' across multiple water quality (and hydraulic) parameters for enabling event detection and identification, and automating their discovery with pattern recognition
  4. Calculating network specific safe flows and frequencies of flow conditioning events from data and using this knowledge to reduce risk by intervening as appropriate

This project provides exciting opportunities for real world application of sophisticated data analytics to not only automate sensor data analysis and interpretation but interface with how system outputs can be best presented in an appropriate time frame to the WDS operator. The technology developed in this project will be tested on a pilot area within the Liverpool Demand Monitoring Zone. Associated project partners include Siemens, OSISoft and ATI.


The STREAM Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) programme is delivered by five of the major academic centres of excellence in water science and engineering in the UK. For further information:

The project will be supervised by Dr Steve Mounce and Prof Joby Boxall at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with partners from United Utilities, including day to day industrial supervisor Dr Michele Romano. The post will be based within water company premises with the candidate also a member of the PWG team:

Eligibility Criteria

Normal EPSRC funding eligibility applies to this award, so students must have a relevant connection with the UK (usually established by residence). See for further details.

The ideal applicant for this position must have:

  • A good honours (2:1 or above) degree in Engineering or Physical Science
  • Relevant experience to perform mathematical and analytical tasks at a very competent level including expertise in a high level programming language such as MATLAB or Python
  • Good interpersonal, presentation and management skills
  • Effective communication and excellent IT skills
  • An ability to travel between the partner institutions

In addition, desirable candidate criteria are;

  • An understanding of the water sector
  • Skills and experience with direct technical relevance to the proposed research project (e.g. hydraulic modelling, GIS and machine learning). In addition, familiarity with IoT platforms such as Siemens MindSphere and the OSISoft PI System and interfaces would be beneficial.

For further information on the project please visit the ‘Opportunities’page of the PWG web site:

How to apply

Interested candidates should email a covering letter and their Curriculum Vitae to Miss Lindsay Hopcroft (

For informal enquiries please contact: Dr Steve Mounce (

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Northern England