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Funded PhD Scholarship (Water/energy nexus)

   School of Engineering

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  Dr Eoghan Clifford, Dr Emmanuel Odey  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

About the research:

The transition to a net zero-carbon energy system is one of the major challenges facing the world. Next Generation Energy Systems (NexSys) is a unique project funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Strategic Partnership Programme with Irish industry and philanthropically funding that seeks to address fundamental questions in Energy Systems, Water, Transport, Offshore Wind, and Cities and Communities.

New water supply and treatment infrastructure needed as part of climate change mitigation are generally very energy intensive. The NexSys Water Strand aims to enable water utilities to adapt to (i) meet the challenges of net zero-carbon energy systems, and (ii) enhance the resilience of the water sector to climate-driven hazards and events. (iii) Investigate technology gaps for the water-energy interface and (iv) develop new solutions at building and industry scale to optimise water management in the context of a move to Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0.

The Ph.D. researcher will join a highly dynamic, international research cluster performing leading-edge research on sustainable infrastructure, water and wastewater engineering, and infrastructure modeling. The research team, at Civil Engineering at the University of Galway Ryan Institute of Environment, Marine and Energy, has strong connections with leading industry and academic institutions across Europe and around the world and performs research in areas that include:

•                    Water supply, water, and wastewater treatment

•                    Energy systems engineering

•                    Systems integration and optimisation

•                    Development of novel, sustainable environmental technologies

•                    Environmental life cycle assessment

A Ph.D. researcher is sought and will be part of a wider team of researchers working in the University of Galway NexSys team led by Dr. Eoghan Clifford in collaboration with Dr. Paraic Ryan University College Cork.

About the University of Galway:

The University of Galway is based in Galway City on the west coast of Ireland. It has been mentioned as one of the world’s most friendly and charming cities. The university was founded in 1845 and now has 18,000 students with an ever-increasing global reach and reputation. Link:

Project description:

If the water-energy nexus is not properly managed as part of the energy transition, it will lead to wasted opportunities, water stress, and challenges to the viability of water and wastewater treatment facilities. New water and wastewater supply, collection, and treatment infrastructure needed as part of climate change mitigation is generally very energy intensive. Thus, there is a challenge in moving towards low-energy and carbon-neutral systems, particularly in the context of needing to meet discharge regulations and protect the environment and public health. An approach to such challenges can involve developing optimized approaches for wastewater system management that enable utilities to meet environmental and climate-related targets.

This Ph.D. research will investigate the relationship between regulatory discharge requirements and resource consumption in wastewater treatment plants. The research will also examine whether optimising discharge requirements or introducing carefully planned seasonal flexibility can support the sustainable operation of wastewater treatment systems. The ability to operationalise such flexibility will be examined and the trade-off between resource consumption and improved discharge limits examined using life cycle assessment approaches. The research will also consider how such optimisation can occur in the context of climate change, and the need to consider inputs to the catchment and demographics.

Stipend: The Ph.D. researcher will start in January - March 2022. The PhDs are fully funded including a tax-free stipend of €18,500/year for four years and funding for payment of tuition fees. 

Eligibility Requirements:

Applicants from a variety of engineering and science backgrounds will be considered for this position.

1.   A level 9 honours degree in civil, chemical engineering, or a related engineering or science discipline (candidates must also have a minimum 2.1 honours bachelor’s degree). Candidates with a 1st class honours bachelor’s degree only can be considered if they do not have a master’s degree.

2.   Candidate must meet the minimum requirements for the English language as set out at this link:

Your application will not be considered if you do not demonstrate you meet the above requirements.

Additional desirable requirements are as follows:

3.   A strong background in water and wastewater treatment science and engineering

4.   Excellent skills in data analytics and statistical analysis

5.   An aptitude for process modeling and life cycle assessment

6 . Experience with both laboratory and field measurements of wastewater, including the use of specialized monitoring and analytical instruments, sample collection, and water analysis protocols.

7.   It is essential that candidates can demonstrate strong communication and technical writing skills

8.   Aptitude for taking initiative and working independently

The Ph.D. researcher will be supervised by Dr. Eoghan Clifford, Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering (University of Galway):

and co-supervised by:

Dr. Paraic Ryan, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering, University College Cork, Ireland

Dr. Edelle Doherty – Postdoctoral Researcher at the School of Engineering, University of Galway

Dr. Emmanuel Odey – Postdoctoral Researcher at the School of Engineering, University of Galway

 How to apply:

1.   Applicants should read the following information carefully to ensure their submissions will be considered:

a.   A 1-page cover letter detailing why they believe they would be suitable for this particular position

b.   A maximum 3-page CV that shows how you meet the criteria outlined above. Applicants should also highlight any previous research and industry-related positions relevant to this Ph.D., relevant publications, communication and presentation experience, and other broader skills that may be relevant to this Ph.D. and demonstrate your aptitude for research.

Please note that cover letters or CVs that are not tailored for this Ph.D. position will not be considered.

2.   Applicants should include the name, address, and e-mail address of at least two referees (references can be appended to your CV if you wish).

3.   Applications must be made in PDF format only to: [Email Address Removed].You must include your first name and second name in all filenames.

4.   Please put the University of Galway/NexSys-PhD3 in the e-mail subject line.

Informal inquiries:

For informal inquiries, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Closing date for applications: ongoing until filled

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