Water Infrastructure & Resilience (WIRe) CDT PhD studentship: Proactive management of dissolved organic carbon in catchments to mitigate climate change impacts on trihalomethanes formation in water treatment

Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 🇬🇧

Award Summary

100% tuition fees paid, plus £19,000 annual stipend and a Research Training Support Grant


Climatic conditions are changing, which affects dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in surface water. DOC is a precursor for the formation of unwanted disinfection by-products (DBPs) in drinking water treatment, which includes trihalomethanes (THMs). Scenarios for climate change impacts on THM formation suggest a 39% increase by 2050 for the British Isles unless treatment is adapted. This PhD project, led by Newcastle University, is in collaboration with Northumbrian Water, and will research proactive management of DOC in catchments to reduce loads into reservoirs and treatment works. Proactive management of DOC in catchments addresses the root cause of the THM challenge and reduces the costs, chemical and energy demands, and environmental impacts of water treatment. The project will review and evaluate nature-based mitigation measures for rising DOC in a case study catchment to develop and validate a catchment-scale DOC monitoring, modelling and management tool. The fieldwork will involve innovative monitoring tools to study DOC loads and characteristics with real-time sensing of water quality, incl. fluorescent dissolved organic matter (FDOM). This will build on experience with real-time water quality sensing systems of the National Green Infrastructure Facility and Newcastle University’s Urban Observatory. The fieldwork will inform the development of a model for DOC management in catchments and in reservoirs to inform abstraction management and engagement with landowners. The project thus seeks to demonstrate a smart water infrastructure solution that combines sensing and modelling with nature-based approaches for climate change resilience and water security.

Number Of Awards: 1

Start Date: September 2022 

Award Duration: 4 years

Application Closing Date: 16 May 2022

Sponsor: Northumbrian Water Limited & EPSRC


Prof David Werner & Dr Adam Jarvis (Newcastle University) Stewart Waugh & Claire Gowdy (Northumbrian Water Limited)

Eligibility Criteria

First or upper second class UG degree (2:1) and preferably a First MEng/MSc in a relevant subject. 

Under the 30% UKRI international recruitment policy, Newcastle will pay the international fee difference for International applicants (including EU) awarded a WIRe CDT studentship at Newcastle (limited to 1 per academic year). Further information will be provided at application stage. 

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system.

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:

  • Insert the programme code 8209F in the programme of study section
  • Select ‘PhD Water Infrastructure & Resilience (WIRe)‘ as the programme of study
  • Insert the studentship code WIRE214 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • Attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code WIRE214 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • Attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications

You should also send your covering letter and CV to [email protected]

Contact Details

[email protected] (academic queries) 

[email protected] (administrative queries).