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EPSRC DTP PhD Studentship in Mathematics & Hydrology

University of Reading - Department of Meteorology

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Reading
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Tuition fees plus RCUK stipend for 3 years from September 2019
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 9th January 2019
Closes: 22nd February 2019
Reference: GS19-020

Project title:  Improving European flood forecasts using data assimilation

Department/School: Department of Meteorology

Supervisors:  Prof Sarah L Dance, Prof Hannah L Cloke

Project Overview:

The annual cost due to flood damage in Europe is expected to rise to 100 billion EUR by the year 2080, due to a combination of climate change and socio-economic growth. The EU-funded European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) is an operational system that monitors and forecasts river floods across Europe. Where river gauge data is available (about 800 locations), the river forecasts are statistically calibrated to match the observations locally. Nevertheless, the value of the corrections is limited, as they do not take into account the spatial relationships that naturally exist between points up- and downstream in the river network.  In contrast, data assimilation provides a mathematical framework for state estimation and calibration that allows for both optimal combination of heterogeneous observation types, as well as non-local updates, where observation influence extends spatially, according to dynamical relationships between locations.  The aim of the project is to develop a data assimilation system for EFAS forecast calibration.

In this interdisciplinary project, the student will develop knowledge and research skills in applied mathematics, hydrology, and the emerging new field of environmental data science.  The student will also have the exciting opportunity to spend time working at the European Centre for European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), with the team developing the operational EFAS system (approximately 1 day per week).  Thus, the student will be able to develop an understanding of the practical constraints of the real world system, while having a strong theoretical basis to the PhD.  The student will receive full technical training for the project through Masters level courses, short training courses and summer schools.


  • Applicants should hold or expect to gain a minimum of a 2:1 Bachelor Degree, Masters Degree with Merit, or equivalent in mathematics, physics, engineering or a closely related subject.
  • Due to restrictions on the funding this studentship is open to UK/EU students.

Funding Details:   

  • Starts September 2019
  • 3 year award
  • Tuition fees plus RCUK stipend

How to apply:   

To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Atmosphere, Oceans and Climate at

*Important notes*

  • 1) Please quote the reference ‘GS19-020’ in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your on-line application.
  • 2) In the box entitled "project proposal" please state that you are applying for “GS19-020 Dance: Improving European flood forecasts using data assimilation“

Application Deadline: February 22, 2019

For further details please contact

Please note that, where a candidate is successful in being awarded funding, this will be confirmed via a formal studentship award letter; this will be provided separately from any Offer of Admission and will be subject to standard checks for eligibility and other criteria. 

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