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The Potential of Constructed Wetlands to Reduce Stormwater Runoff and Pollution

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, December 01, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (CEBE) is making major investments in growing the quality and volume of research across its two constituent Schools (Schools of Engineering and the Built Environment, and Computing and Digital Technology) through investments in academic staff and researchers, doctoral students and new labs, workshops and equipment.
The Water, Environment and Communities Research Centre is located in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (CEBE) and based at our City Centre Campus. The Centre undertakes applied research on a range of contemporary themes relating to water and the environment reflecting the diversity and interdisciplinary nature of issues concerning the development of resilient communities. The Centre undertakes a portfolio of applied interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange, education, community engagement and advice for decision makers and policy makers at all levels. The Centre’s work embraces and integrates local, national and international perspectives on water, focusing on environmental challenges towards sustaining resilient communities.

How to apply
To apply, please complete the project proposal form in our website, ensuring that you quote the project reference, and then complete the online application ( where you will be required to upload your proposal in place of a personal statement.
You will also be required to upload two references, at least one being an academic reference, and your qualification/s of entry (Bachelor/Masters certificate/s and transcript/s)
For international applicants, a valid English language qualification, such as International English Language Test System (Academic IELTS) or equivalent with an overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0, must be submitted with your application.
These studentships come with full fee waivers for both UK and international candidates. There will also be the opportunity for some paid teaching work of up to 180hrs per academic year. Exceptionally strong candidates may also be offered a bursary. Final funding arrangements will be determined based on the strength of the candidate and quality of the proposal. Some of these projects also include support from our collaborating organisations.

Storm water runoff typically contains and transports a wide range of pollutants, resulting in negative environmental effects with potential threats to ecosystems and health. Hundreds of runoff treatment ponds and constructed wetlands (CWs) intended to moderate these impacts are likely to be delivering sub‐optimal (and perhaps actually below legally required) levels of improvement in water quality due to poor understanding of flow patterns, hydraulic design parameters and the effects of vegetation. At the same time there is an increasing push to consider natural approaches to reducing flood risk. This is strongly supported by the EU Floods Directive, as the European Commission recognises that flooding is an increasing problem in Europe. This PhD research will generate a unique dataset to describe the influence of different types and configurations of aqueous system (i.e. CWs and ponds) hydraulic designs and vegetation on their fundamental flow, and treatment characteristics. Parallel aim of this PhD research is to quantify and assess the capability of CWs and ponds in the reduction of peak flows, in order to alleviate urban runoff during storm events. The proposed tools will ensure that future wetland and pond designs meet all their water quantity and quality requirements, and ecosystem services objectives for current legislation and the increasingly stringent EU regulatory framework anticipated over the next decade.

Person specification:
An MSc or equivalent professional or research experience in civil engineering, hydraulics or water engineering. Knowledge of environmental science and flood risk management would also be useful.

Funding Notes

The project is in collaboration with the Coal Authority, providing in-kind support through access to their facilities across the UK and obtained datasets as required.

We have a range of PhD studentships now available across the range of disciplines represented in the centre. There are a limited number of funding opportunities available with some studentships including full scholarships while others having partial or self-funding options. Funding will be determined based on the strength of the candidate and quality of the proposal. Some of these projects also include support from our collaborating organisations.


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