PhD studentship in Environmental Engineering: Building water treatment infrastructure resilience to climate change-induced changes in freshwater sulphate concentrations

   School of Engineering

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  Dr Adam Jarvis, Dr E Lewis  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project


This exciting WIRe CDT project, in collaboration with Northumbrian Water, will investigate the impact of climate change on river water quality, the implications this will have for water treatment infrastructure, and novel engineering interventions for management of such impacts. A specific focus for the research will be water treatment infrastructure resilience to changes in freshwater sulphate concentrations; freshwater sulphate concentrations have increased in recent decades, and these problems are particularly evident in former mining catchments, including in north-east England. 

The project will involve (1) reviewing regional / national trends in freshwater sulphate concentration to identify water infrastructure at potential risk, now and in the future, (2) quantifying current (point and diffuse) sources of sulphate in legacy coal mine catchments, (3) projecting future riverine sulphate concentration and flux using NU’s SHETRAN modelling software, (3) trialling innovative, catchment-based management approaches to sulphate source control, and water treatment plant-based technologies for sulphate attenuation. 

The project will involve close working with Northumbrian Water, as well as the Newcastle University academic supervisors. Research will be conducted at national, regional and local scales. Fieldwork (water quality and hydrology) will focus on the River Wear, NE England, with associated analysis work in the University’s well-equipped labs. The project will involve numerical modelling work, and some prior knowledge in this area would be advantageous. 

Number Of Awards


Start Date

25 September 2023

Award Duration

4 years


EPSRC & Northumbrian Water Limited


Prof Adam Jarvis and Dr Elizabeth Lewis (Newcastle University) Stewart Waugh and Claire Gowdy (Northumbrian Water Limited).

Eligibility Criteria

A First Meng/MSc in a relevant subject or First or upper second class UG degree (2:1). Enthusiasm for research, the ability to think and work independently, excellent analytical skills and strong verbal and written communication skills are also essential requirements.  

This studentship is open to UK home students. To be treated as a home student, candidates must meet one of these criteria:

  • be a UK national (meeting residency requirements)
  • have settled status
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements)
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal 

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’. 

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study: 

  • search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code:8209F 
  • Select ‘PhD Water Infrastructure & Resilience (WIRe)' as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Questions’ section: 

  • a ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) - upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form 
  • the studentship code WIRE2301 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field 
  • when prompted for how you are providing your research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal.   

Contact Details

[Email Address Removed]  

Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13) Geology (18)

Funding Notes

Fully funded Studentship with a tax-free annual living allowance of £21,000, a research training support grant + UKRI fees paid.