PhD: Floating solar panel impacts on aquatic systems under a changing climate

Lancaster University

Lancaster, UK 🇬🇧

Lead supervisor

Dr Andrew Folkard

Project Description

Floating photovoltaic solar panels (FPVs) on drinking water reservoirs are a rapidly growing contribution to climate change responses. However, little is known about their impacts on their host waterbodies. Consequences are likely to vary with water body characteristics, FPV design and climate changes. Understanding these impacts is critical to ensuring FPV deployments deliver optimal benefits and avoid detrimental impacts. This project gives you an exciting opportunity to address this knowledge gap at the forefront of renewable energy and climate change adaptation science. It will focus on developing computational modelling of FPVs’ impacts on waterbodies’ physical conditions and explore the consequences for ecosystem health. It will involve working with established groups in Lancaster, engaging with our industrial partner, Thames Water, and carrying out fieldwork with our research partners in Toulouse, France. The goal is to produce one of a handful of people worldwide with expertise in FPV environmental impacts.

General eligibility criteria

Enthusiasm, independence, self-motivation, curiosity and the ability to communicate to a range of audiences are all distinctly advantageous qualities for a PhD. Applicants would normally be expected to hold a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in a relevant degree course. However, applicants who have gained experience in relevant fields through non-traditional routes are strongly encouraged to apply. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates, candidates who are in the first generation of their family to go to university, candidates who have been in care or who have been a young carer, and candidates from a low-income background.

English language requirements for overseas students can be found here.

Project specific criteria

Applicants for this PhD project would benefit from having experience of at least some of the following: water science, including hydrodynamics, aquatic ecology and/or water quality; computational modelling; fieldwork (ideally in an aquatic context); engagement with a network of industrial and research partners.

Studentship funding

Full studentships (UK tuition fees and stipend (£16,062 2022/23 [tax free])) for UK students for 3.5 years or full studentships (International tuition fees and stipend (£16,062 2022/23 [tax free])) for International students for 3 years.

Selection information

Candidates should note that there are a total of six studentships available for this call, which means that not every project will be assigned a student. Applications will first be shortlisted by the project supervisor with a final interview and shortlisting conducted by a departmental panel.

One studentship is specifically reserved for a candidate from a global south country. If this applies to you, please make this clear on your application form.


Deadline for applications: 20th May 2022

Provisional Interview Date: to be confirmed

Start Date: October 2022

Application process

  1. Download the LEC Funded PhD Application Form and LEC Funded PhD Reference Form‌.
  2. Complete the Application Form, renaming the document with your ‘Name and Application Form’ e.g., Joe Bloggs Application Form.
  3. Submit the completed Application Form and a CV to [email protected]
  4. Please note only Word or pdf files are accepted.
  5. Rename the referee form with your ‘Name and Reference’, e.g., Joe Bloggs Reference. Send the renamed reference form to two referees and request them to forward the referee document to [email protected]
  6. Please note only Word or pdf files are accepted. It is important that you ensure references are submitted by the closing date or as soon as possible.
  7. You will receive a generic acknowledgement in receipt of successfully sending the application documents.
  8. Please note that only applications submitted as per these instructions will be considered.
  9. Please note that, if English is not your first language, you will be required to provide evidence of your proficiency in English. This evidence is only required if you are offered a funded PhD and is not required as part of this application process.
  10. Please note that, if you do not hear from us within four weeks of the closing date then you have been unsuccessful on this occasion. If you would like feedback on your application, please contact the supervisors of the project.

Submit all applications and references to this email address: [email protected]

1 days remaining

Apply by 20 May, 2022