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PhD Studentship: The Aquatic Edetective: Intelligent Source Term Estimation of Water Pollution Using Autonomous Surface Vehicles

Loughborough University - Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Loughborough
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £21,622 per annum. Subject to annual pay award.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 23rd October 2023
Closes: 10th January 2024
Reference: CENTA24-LU9
 

Discharge of hazardous substances into aquatic environments, for example, from storm overflows of sewage water, or leaks of hazardous chemicals, poses a substantial risk to public health and the aquatic ecosystem. In such incidents, it is imperative to identify the release source, estimate its strength and reconstruct the dispersion of the pollutant. However, the fast-changing dynamics make it difficult to rely on existing monitoring stations or manual sampling to capture the morphology of pollutant plumes.

Unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), as agile and flexible robot platforms, offer a promising alternative to environment monitoring. This project aims to develop an integrated active sensing framework, which will enable USVs to autonomously plan a survey path in the area of interest and infer the pollution source from observed data.

The successful PhD applicant will work with experts in robotics, autonomous systems, and fluid mechanics at Loughborough University, and with applied environmental scientists at the Environment Agency. They will develop USVs equipped with water quality sensors to autonomously survey the aquatic environment; model pollution dispersion for fast Bayesian inference with real-world field testing and application; and develop physics-informed Bayesian inference algorithms to rapidly quantify the information gain of a possible sampling location.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £21,622 per year for the duration of the studentship, plus tuition fees at the UK rate. International students are welcome to apply and a strong candidate may secure a fee waiver for the difference between UK and International tuition fees.

Closing Date 10 January 2024

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