Water Infrastructure and Resilience (WIRe) CDT PhD studentship: Catchments as the first stage of treatment

Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 🇬🇧

Award Summary

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


Utilising catchments or raw water infrastructure as the first stage of treatment will support the UK Water industry’s transition towards chemical-free water treatment, offsetting the need for operational expenditure and infrastructure investment and the related environmental impacts. This PhD project, led by Newcastle University, in collaboration with UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) and the University of Sheffield, looks to advance nature-based and physical interventions in catchments as treatment stages to supplement other catchment management approaches within the UK and Ireland. Fieldwork at Newcastle University’s two research farms and experiments at the National Green Infrastructure Facility (NGIF) will establish the benefits of soil amendments or specific vegetation in buffer strips to enhance nutrient/pesticide/solids retention, while features such as ditch barriers, ponds, and leaky dams will also be evaluated for their water quality impacts. Sheffield University will contribute expertise and equipment to characterise the hydrological performance (e.g. pollutant attenuation and retention time) of such features under different flow rates. Newcastle University will deploy its “Lab in a Van” for onsite analysis of chemical and microbial water quality. Taking a holistic view of the catchment system, results from fieldwork, experiments and literature will be used to identify combinations of catchment, water body and raw water infrastructure interventions which realize the full benefits of catchment-based solutions. A decision support tool will be co-developed with water industry and land management stakeholders to define climate change resilient catchment-based treatment solutions and maintenance regimes that protect biodiversity, enhance the public amenity value of catchments and improve the quality of drinking water resources.

Number Of Awards: 1

Start Date: September 2022 

Award Duration: 4 years

Application Closing Date: 16 May 2022

Sponsor: UKWIR & EPSRC


Prof David Werner (Newcastle University) and Dr Virginia Stovin (University of Sheffield), Christine Murray & John Haley (UKWIR).

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 WIRE216 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 WIRE216 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).