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PhD Studentship: Modelling Pathogen and Biofilm Behaviour within Drinking Water Distribution Systems

University of Sheffield

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Sheffield
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Funding is provided for enhanced stipend and UK fees.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 17th November 2022
Closes: 31st January 2023
 

Enhanced 3.5 year tax-free enhanced stipend of £20,000 per year and (home) tuition fees 

Start date: Expected to be 25 September 2023 (contract duration 3.5 years)

This funded studentship provides an unrivalled opportunity to undertake modelling research pushing the frontiers of understanding and managing drinking water quality. In this role you will develop modelling tools to capture emergent pathogen / biofilm behaviour under different disinfection regimes, working closely with a team of researchers in the lab and field. The research will make a significant contribution to the UKRI EPSRC funded project on drinking water distribution system biofilms ‘To chlorinate, or not to chlorinate’. The results of this research will enable the optimisation of disinfection residual use in treated water, helping to deliver a step change in protecting public health whilst minimising chemical and energy use.

You will conduct research to make a step change from modelling the planktonic to include/incorporate the attached phases of microorganism dynamics, relevant across all biofilm domains. Mobilisation modelling will be developed to specifically describe biofilm-hydraulic interactions. This will then be integrated with quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) approaches that will model in-pipe processes, for the first time. This research will be a major and significant advance, opening a range of possibilities such as the extension of QMRA into premises plumbing. You will help to drive a new way of modelling the impacts of disinfectant residuals within DWDS increasing the accuracy of predicting associated risks and understanding of biofilm pipe wall interactions.

Supervision

The project will be supervised by Prof Joby Boxall and Prof Vanessa Speight at the University of Sheffield. The normal place of work is expected to be at the University of Sheffield, with regular interaction with The University of Glasgow and UK Water Company field sites. Travel and subsistence costs are provided.

Eligibility Criteria

Funding is provided for enhanced stipend and UK fees. While applications are not restricted to home applicants, alternative additional funding will be necessary to cover overseas fees (that does not include the stipend).

Selection Criteria

The selection criteria are a good first degree in relevant engineering, computing or science discipline and enthusiasm for the topic area. Expertise in Matlab and Python are required. Experience of hydraulic modelling and/or biological applications is ideal but not essential.

How to apply

Interested candidates should email a covering letter and their Curriculum Vitae to Lindsay Hopcroft (l.hopcroft@sheffield.ac.uk). For information and informal enquiries please contact: Prof. Joby Boxall (j.b.boxall@sheffield.ac.uk).

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