Chemical Engineering: Fully Funded Welsh Water Dwr Cymru PhD Scholarship: Valorisation Of Drinking Water Treatment Works Sludge (RS145)

Swansea University

Swansea, UK 🇬🇧

Closing date: 15 August 2022

Key Information

Funding provider: Welsh Water Dŵr Cymru

Subject areas: Chemical Engineering

Project start date: 

  • 1 October 2022 (Enrolment open from mid-September)

Project supervisors:

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Chemical Engineering

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description:

The devotion of the UK water industry to achieve zero-carbon emissions and circular economy will require new approaches in operating the treatment processes and managing resources and residues. Thus, a shift from a commonly adopted linear model based on Take-Use-Discharge strategy to a circular approach is timely, required, and offers opportunity for commercial advantage. Resources reuse and valorisation of water treatment residues are key for the transition to a low carbon economy and a circular water industry.

Large volumes of sludge are generated as part of the purification process of potable water. In the UK alone, more than 130,000 tonnes (dry basis) of water treatment works sludge are produced yearly. This sludge is becoming increasingly difficult to manage not only because of the high volumes produced but also due to the limited disposal options available. Currently, about 80% of sludge generated from potable water treatment plants in the UK is recycled to land. However, such sludge contains huge amounts of valuable materials that could be recovered and reused either within the water and wastewater treatment processes or externally by other industries. Land banks used for sludge disposal are also diminishing, which will put pressure on the land disposal route. Thus, there is a need to find new cost-effective and sustainable ways of managing water sludges by releasing the value of sludges while reducing wastes and producing useful products from the sludge.

This PhD programme is funded by Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) to explore new separation and reactive techniques based on new filters combined with hydrothermal and oxidation processes to release the value of materials in water sludges. The recovered materials could be ferric, aluminium, humic materials, phosphorous and trace metals. By using these products as raw materials rather than using the disposal route will align with Dwr Cymru’s Strategic Response 18: Promoting a Circular Economy and Combatting Climate Change as part of the company’s Water 2050 Vision. This project will have access to state-of-the-art facilities in the Water and Resources Recovery Research Lab and across the Faculty of Science and Engineering. Particularly, this project will have access to facilities supported by the recent Circular Economy Capital Fund received from the Welsh Government.  


Candidates must normally hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level or Master’s degree with Merit (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline. See – Country-specific Information for European Applicants 2019 and Country-specific Information for International Applicants 2019.

English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 5.5 in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent. Details on the Swansea University English Language entry policy can be found here.

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality. Please note, this scholarship covers the UK tuition fees only therefore successful international candidate is expected to cover the difference between UK and international tuition fees.

NB: If you are holding a non-UK degree, please see Swansea University degree comparisons to find out if you meet the eligibility. 

If you have any questions regarding your academic or fee eligibility based on the above, please email [email protected] with the web-link to the scholarship(s) you are interested in. 


This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend of £16,082 for three years.

Additional research expenses will also be available. 

How to Apply

To apply, please complete your application online with the following information:

  1. Course choice – please select Chemicals Engineering / Ph.D. / Full-time / 3 Year / OctoberIn the event you have already applied for the above programme previously, the application system may issue a warning notice and prevent application, in this event, please email [email protected] where staff will be happy to assist you in submitting your application.
  2. Start year – please select 2022
  3. Funding (page 8) –
  • ‘Are you funding your studies yourself?’ – please select No
  • ‘Name of Individual or organisation providing funds for study’ – please enter ‘RS145 – PhD DCWW’’

*It is the responsibility of the applicant to list the above information accurately when applying, please note that applications received without the above information listed will not be considered for the scholarship award.

One application is required per individual Swansea University led research scholarship award; applications cannot be considered listing multiple Swansea University led research scholarship awards.

As part of your online application, you MUST upload the following documents (please do not send these via email):

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts (if you are currently studying for a degree, screenshots of your grades to date are sufficient)
  • A cover letter including a ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ to explain why the position particularly matches your skills and experience and how you choose to develop the project.
  • Two references (academic or previous employer) on headed paper or using the Swansea University reference form. Please note that we are not able to accept references received citing private email accounts, e.g. Hotmail. Referees should cite their employment email address for verification of reference.
  • Evidence of meeting English Language requirement (if applicable).
  • Copy of UK passport

For enquiries, please contact Professor Chedly Tizaoui ([email protected]).

*External Partner Application Data Sharing – Please not that as part of the scholarship application selection process, application data sharing may occur with external partners outside of the University, when joint/co- funding of a scholarship project is applicable.