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EPSRC PhD Studentship: Achieving Biologically Stable Drinking Water

University of Sheffield

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Sheffield
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: 4-years tax-free stipend of £19,000 per year and all tuition fees paid.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 17th February 2021
Closes: 29th March 2021

4-years tax-free stipend of £19,000 per year and all tuition fees paid

A partnership between The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Water Centre, The University of Cranfield and UK Water Industry Research, as part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience (WIRe)

Closing Date for Applications: 29th March 2021

Start Date: 27th September 2021 (contract duration 4 years)Interview date: 13th April 2021

This fully funded project provides an unrivalled opportunity to conduct research using bespoke pilot treatment and pipe loop experimental facilities at Sheffield and Cranfield universities as well as sampling at UK water company sites.  Key to success will be the selection, development and application of latest techniques to characterise treated waters in terms of their biological stability.

Biological stability of drinking water is an often considered and discussed concept. However, its definition, assessment and practical application remains complex and uncertain.  Many definitions include no or minimal change in microbial quality between the outlet of the water treatment works and consumers tap.  While such change primarily occurs within the vast pipe networks of drinking water distribution systems and within premises, it is also a function of the characteristics of the source water and the treatment processes.  Thus this research will take a source to tap approach to understand this complex range of influences on the quality of water received by customers.

The knowledge developed will be captured in the development of a process selection matrix or decision support tool, and by identifying and recommending best practice for assessing and maintaining biological stability.  By understanding how to produce and maintain biologically stable water we will reduce reliance on chemical based disinfection processes and look to offset climate change impacts such as warmer water temperature and lower quality raw water.

This four year PhD programme benefits from being part of WIRe (Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience), a collaboration between the three leading UK Universities in water resilient infrastructure. Students will benefit from a bespoke training scheme delivered by world leading authorities from academia and industry, access to world leading experimental and computational facilities as well as close and regular contact with industry and end user partners. Resources are also available for international collaboration and conference attendance. WIRe is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community, and offer a range of family friendly, inclusive policies. For further information on the CDT WIRe scheme visit the web site at:


The project will be supervised by Prof Joby Boxall at the University of Sheffield and Prof Peter Jarvis at Cranfield University in collaboration with UK Water Industry Research represented by John Haley. The normal place of work is expected to be at the University of Sheffield, with close regular interaction with Cranfield University and UK Water Company field sites. Travel and subsistence costs are provided.

Eligibility Criteria

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

Selection Criteria

The selection criteria are a good first degree in relevant engineering or science discipline with enthusiasm for the topic area.

How to apply

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

For information and informal enquiries please contact: Prof Joby Boxall ( )

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