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Unified whole-system of environmental risk assessment for contaminated-lands and a corresponding computer-aided model/tool (Advert Reference: SF18/MCE/BUTT)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

(Note: This research will inform regeneration and reclamation of contaminated land for construction projects and associated planning applications as a legislative requirement, whereas the construction industry is the largest, highest GDP yielding and yet most multi- and inter-disciplinary industry, both, nationally and globally / internationally)

Government policies, planning authorities and pressure groups strongly advocate to build developments not on green-fields but brown-fields to preserve the natural environment i.e. land regeneration. Whereas, the issue with brownfields is that they are highly-likely to be contaminated from previous human-uses, thereby necessitating environmental risk-assessment, which is a legal requirement. Furthermore, environmental legislation are increasingly becoming stringent, versatile, inclusive, and integrated. For instance, Directives and regulations regarding Water Framework, Landfill, and Habitat cover ground waters, surface waters and ecological systems; hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere; and natural habitats, wild fauna and flora; respectively.

Such a diversity has rendered risk-assessments more multi- and inter-disciplinary than ever before, leading to even greater inconsistency in risk-assessment reports – generally produced by environmental consultants for environmental regulators to evaluate in connection to planning applications and inform concerned planning authorities/councils in their decision-making.

To meet afore-mentioned multi- and inter-layered challenges, it is necessary more than ever before that there is such a substantially more inclusive holistic, integrated, unified/standardized, systematic, sequential and yet user-friendly methodology of environmental risk-assessment that assists environmental consultants to produce risk-assessment in a consistent format to ease evaluation by environmental regulators. This is what the proposed research is about.

The aimed methodology/tool would also have to draw upon various constituting factors and sub-factors of total risk-assessment cycle in a logical sequence and categorical manner, and also indicate the “what, why, when and how” outputs of and inputs to these factors and sub-factors can be useful. The methodology/tool is to identify and quantify a range of risks associated with all stages of contaminated (e.g. past-use, new/proposed-use, remediation processes risks, etc.), and yet in a more streamlined, logical, categorical and integrated format, offering an unified whole-system approach. Overcoming inconsistency issue, leading to better coordination between environmental regulators, environmental consultants and planning authorities, the tool can systematically inform decision-making and bring together other stakeholders on one platform of effective risk-communication.

Please note eligibility requirement:

* Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]) in Civil Engineering, Environmental or other Physical Sciences; or a Masters (preference for Merit or above) preferably an MSc in the environmental field (e.g. environmental engineering or management) with some knowledge of computer-aid models/e-tools; or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
* Appropriate IELTS score, if required

This project is well suited to motivated and hard-working candidates with a keen interest in environmental risk assessment and management. The applicant should have excellent communication skills including proven ability to write in English.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/MCE/BUTT) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2019 or 1 June 2019 or 1 October 2019

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University hold an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.


Funding Notes

This is an unfunded research project

References

Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project
To date, the total number of citations of my publications in the area of risk assessment is in excess of 200. A few of my papers are listed below:
Butt, T. E.; Gouda, H. M.; Alam, A.; Javadi, A. A.; Nunns, M. A.; Allen, T. J. 2017, Baseline study in environmental risk assessment: Escalating need for computer models to be whole-system approach, Critical Reviews in Environmental Science & Technology (CREST), 47(5) 289-313 (IF = 5.79)
Butt, T. E.; Javadi, A. A.; Nunns, M. A; Beal, C. D. 2016, ‘Development of a Conceptual Framework of Holistic Risk Assessment – Landfill as a particular type of contaminated land’, Science of the Total Environment, 569-570 : 815-829. (IF = 4.9).
Butt, T. E.; Gouda, H. M.; Baloch, M. I.; Paul, P.; Javadi, A. A.; Alam, A. 2014, ‘Literature Review of Baseline Study for Risk Analysis’, Environment International, 63,149-162 (IF = 7.088).
Butt, T. E.; Lockley, E.; Oduyemi, K. O. K. 2008, ‘Risk Assessment of Landfill Disposal Sites – State-of-the-art’, Waste Management, 28 (6)952-964 (IF = 4.030).
This paper is a result of my role as an international supervisor / advisor of student(s) overseas: Alam, A.; Tabinda, B.; Qadir, A.; Butt, T. E.; Siddique, S.; Mahmood, A. 2017, Ecological risk assessment of an open dumping site at Mehmood Booti Lahore, Pakistan. Environmental Science and Pollution Research (ESPR), 24 (21) 17889-17899 (IF = 2.741)

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