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Development of an Integrated, Multi-Criteria Risk Assessment and Management (IMCRAM) model for landfill sites to support land-redevelopment (Advert Reference: RDF20/EE/MCE/BUTT)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Landfills are one of the most common types of contaminated land, while landfilling is still a predominant waste management option. Thus, new contaminated lands are still being generated at a higher rate, in addition to the ones that already exist. Due to mounting pressures from government policies, planning authorities, communities, and ever intensifying legislations and regulations, the construction industry is seeing an increasing shift towards landfill redevelopment. However, a landfill by its nature is a multi-dimensional contaminant-source which can (mutually) pollute all the five environment spheres via its gas and leachate. Thus, risk management approaches should be able to include all the five spheres in the same, one risk analysis exercise to be more holistic and complete. This is what the current approaches lack.

In order to effectively support land-redevelopment for the built environment and construction industry, a IMCRAM model is required rather than the current ‘piece-meal’ ones (e.g. LandSim, GasSim). By employing case-studies and empirical surveys (including both quantitative and qualitative, questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with experts), the proposed PhD project will focus on this knowledge-gap. The project scope will be substantially multi- and inter-disciplinary and consider:
• all the five environment spheres (i.e. hydrosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere, anthroposphere/technosphere and biosphere);
• comparative and cumulative risks from both landfill gas and leachate;
• creating a systematic account of risk control measures and land remediation technologies (e.g. bio-remediation) in one place as a one-stop-shop;
• inducing in the IMCRAM development the implications of both: 1) relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs – and their respective indicators) and 2) climate change projections (e.g. from IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) which render landfills potentially more harmful over time.

Once the IMCRAM model is built in a holistic, categorical and sequential manner, it will be tested and validated on a number of different types of real-world landfills in England.

The principal supervisor for this project is Dr. Talib E Butt. The second and third supervisors will be Professor Jane Entwistle and Professor Martin Crapper.
External Supervisor/Advisor: Michael A. Nunns (Environment Agency – Integrated Environmental Planning, England)

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/EE/MCE/BUTT) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU/ Worldwide students where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Entwistle, J., Amaibi, P., Dean, J., Deary, M., Medock, D., Morton, J., Rodushkin, I., Bramwell, L. An apple a day? Assessing gardeners’ lead exposure in urban agriculture sites to improve the derivation of soil assessment criteria, 1 Jan 2019, In: Environment International

Butt, T. E.; Gouda, H. M.; Alam, A.; Javadi, A. A.; Nunns, M. A.; Allen, T. J. 2017, Baseline study in environmental risk assessment: Escalating need for computer models to be whole-system approach, Critical Reviews in Environmental Science & Technology (CREST), 47(5) 289-313

Alam, A.; Tabinda, A. B.; Qadir, A.; Butt, T. E.; Siddique, S.; Mahmood, A. 2017, Ecological risk assessment of an open dumping site at Mehmood Booti Lahore, Pakistan. Environmental Science and Pollution Research (ESPR), 24 (21) 17889-17899

Butt, T. E.; Javadi, A. A.; Nunns, M. A; Beal, C. D. 2016, ‘Development of a Conceptual Framework of Holistic Risk Assessment – Landfill as a particular type of contaminated land’, Science of the Total Environment, 569-570 : 815-829.

Butt, T. E., Entwistle, J. A., Sagoo, A. S., Akram, H., Massacci, G. 2019. Combined risk assessment for landfill gas and leachate – Informing contaminated land reclamation for appropriate construction projects. Proceedings Sardinia 2019 - Seventeenth International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium, 30th September - 4th October 2019, S. Margherita di Pula (Cagliari), Sardinia, Italy. ISSN: 2282-0027 - ISBN: 9788862650144

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