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Overcoming socio-economic barriers to develop a ‘beyond compliance’ culture of water reuse in Scotland

Hydro Nation Scholars Programme 2021

, , Friday, January 08, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

New initiatives and instruments are urgently required to promote and establish water-wise design and effluent reuse in Scotland and more widely as global populations face water shortages driven by growing demand exacerbated by climate change. Even in areas traditionally thought safe from drought, such as Scotland, resources are already under stress. Reclamation can help reduce energy requirements and costs for wastewater treatment contributing to a post Covid-19 green recovery. However, reusing treated wastewater faces barriers including lack of public support attributed in large part to unfavourable perceptions, risks to public health and the environment, and practical implementation challenges. Greater acceptability needs to be fostered with prospective user communities, stakeholders, and the public more generally.

The candidate will engage with key policy, industry, consumer, and regulatory stakeholders to better understand the critical drivers for and barriers to reuse including identifying prospective end-users, and stakeholders involved in current Scottish reuse initiatives and pilots. Once identified, relevant stakeholders will be drawn into further engagement, through semi-structured interviews, focus groups, stakeholder workshops and a Living Lab to explore the potential for the reuse of water within Scotland. An opportunity mapping exercise using GIS tools, secondary data, and drawing on stakeholder input will match potential resources with end-uses which may include golf course or municipal space irrigation, industrial processes, construction, domestic uses, agricultural processes etc. Participatory mapping techniques including the use of digital interactive TouchTable technology will be utilised to support stakeholder mapping. The candidate will explore international cases that can inform Scotland’s reuse trajectory through secondary data analysis and through an international study visit (for example Murcia, Spain). The goal is for an open and accessible stakeholder engagement that will help to stimulate a national debate.

Applicants are strongly advised to make an informal enquiry about the PhD to the primary supervisor well before the final submission deadline. Applicants must send a completed application form (available here:, their Curriculum Vitae and a covering letter to the primary supervisor by the final submission deadline of 8th January.

Funding Notes

The Hydro Nation Scholars Programme is an open competition for PhD Scholars to undertake approved projects, hosted within Scottish Universities and Research Institutes. This project will be hosted at Dundee University . Full funding is available from the Scottish Government (to host institutions via the Scottish Funding Council). The funding available will be in line with the UKRI doctoral stipend levels and indicative fees. Applicants should have a first-class honours degree in a relevant subject or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or equivalent). Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on 11th or 12th February 2021.

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