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Taking old drinking water treatment processes into the 21st Century

  • Full or part time
    Dr P Jarvis
    Prof Bruce Jefferson
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 01, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Sponsored by EPSRC, Thames Water and Anglian Water, this studentship will provide a bursary of £19,000 per annum (tax free) plus fees* for four years.

This exciting fully funded PhD, with an enhanced stipend of £19,000 per annum and working in collaboration with Thames Water and Anglian Water, will research the means of delivering effective drinking water well into the future against a backdrop of significant challenge. Students will benefit from being part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience (WIRe), a world leading collaboration between three universities ( The WIRe programme includes a bespoke training programme in technical and personal skills development, and provides opportunities for overseas travel and access to world leading experimental facilities (PhD Programmes under this scheme are for a duration of four years).

It is important that we have robust and resilient processes to remove micropollutants from drinking water to ensure that consumers are continually provided with safe and wholesome water. However, the infrastructure used to treat drinking water is ageing, water quality regulations are getting tighter, populations are growing, and climate change may influence our water resources. In addition, the appetite for customers and government to fund a massive change in our infrastructure seems low. In the case of micropollutants, we have relied on ozone and adsorption processes to oxidise and remove a range of water contaminants. However, these processes are often more than 20 years old and are reaching the end of their design lifespan. Important research is therefore needed to understand how these processes can be future-proofed to meet future challenges.

1) What is the potential to adapt existing drinking water treatment processes used for micropollutant removal to make them more resilient to future treatment challenges?
2) What is the flowsheet of the future that best delivers effective water quality?

Accordingly, key scientific discoveries are anticipated in relation to our understanding of new oxidation and adsorption systems for micropllutant removal and how these can be translated into real operational systems.
Through an optioneering process and experimental investigations at laboratory and pilot scale you will identify the opportunities (and limitations) of implementing these processes into water treatment systems.

As part of the WIRe doctoral centre, students will benefit from an enhanced stipend of £19,000 per annum, undertake a bespoke training programme within a cohort of up to 12 students and have access to world leading experimental facilities and observatories, as well as close collaboration with industry and end-user partners.

At the end of the project you will be very well positioned to have a highly successful career in the water sector or in an academic role. We will help you develop into a dynamic, confident and highly competent researcher with wider transferable skills (communication, project management and leadership) that will be highly desirable for future employability.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as engineering, chemistry, environmental sciences, or water science. The ideal candidate should have some understanding of water treatment. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stakeholders, with an interest for industrial research. Prior experience in the water sector would be advantageous but is not essential.

Funding Notes

To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK national.

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