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Enhanced bio-minerals production using catalysts to accelerate resource recovery in wastewater treatment plants

Cranfield University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cranfield
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £18,000 (tax free) bursary plus fees* for three years
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th February 2019
Closes: 30th April 2019

Sponsored by EPSRC, Severn Trent and Microvi. This studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax free) plus fees* for three years.

This PhD position offers an exciting opportunity to resolve key questions around nutrient resource recovery in waste streams in a project sponsored by EPSRC, Severn Trent and Microvi. The successful candidate will work at Cranfield University and also at Severn Trent sites developing and optimising innovative technologies for nutrient resource recovery in waste streams. The work is applied to wastewater streams and urine and involves data analysis, operation of pilot plants supplemented with laboratory investigation to resolve key scientific questions.

Nutrient resource recovery from wastewater and other waste streams is a challenge of the 21st century. Phosphorus is a finite resource being used at alarming rates for fertiliser production to secure agricultural productivity and food supply. Phosphorus has been named the ‘disappearing nutrient’. On the other side, municipal wastewater and urine contain significant amounts of nutrients that can be recovered and reused in a range of industries. Biological crystal formation of phosphorus compounds (e.g.: struvite; magnesium phosphate, etc.), has been demonstrated to be a by-product of the metabolism of specific bacteria that can be found frequently in the environment. The ability of selected bacteria to produce bio-minerals from wastewater has been recently demonstrated at Cranfield University.

The aim of the project is to advance the process for bio-mineral production from wastewater and urine.

The research developed in this project is expected to contribute to develop an innovative process that can be commercialised and implemented to recover phosphorus as salt from liquid streams.

This PhD offers an exciting opportunity to resolve the key questions around the nutrient recovery processes and help establish a robust business case for its implementation.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have:

  • A first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related subject such as engineering, biology, environmental science or chemistry.
  • Appropriate knowledge of written and oral English.
  • An understanding of wastewater treatment technologies and processes is desirable.
  • A driving licence


To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK national. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions or applicant has “settled status” and has been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to start of studies and has not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals). Due to funding restrictions all EU nationals are eligible to receive a fees-only award if they do not have “settled status” in the UK.

How to apply

For further information please contact: Ana Soares,  T: (0) 1234 750111

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form

For further information contact us today:

T: +44 (0)1234 758082

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