PhD: WASH in humanitarian response

Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA, USA

Dr. Gabrielle String’s research group is currently seeking 2 PhD students on WASH in humanitarian contexts for fully funded positions beginning in Fall 2023 through the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Lehigh University ( Successful candidates would have the opportunity to work in one of the following research areas, or on other related projects as funding indicates:

1) Safe water storage at household levels
2) Disinfection of surfaces in low-resource contexts and healthcare facilities (relevant to cholera and Ebola outbreak contexts)
3) Drinking Water Safety Plans in community-managed water supply

Our group studies the efficacy of WASH technologies and guidelines in a laboratory environment and the effectiveness of WASH programs as implemented by responders in humanitarian contexts. Our university-based laboratory utilizes bacteria and phages to prepare simulant environmental samples for challenge testing at the BSL-1 and BSL-2 levels. In the field we employ mixed-methods, multi-context study designs for data collection, including interviews, surveys, focus group discussions, observations, and water quality testing in a field-established laboratory. Students with BS or MS degree in environmental engineering, environmental sciences, environmental health, civil engineering, or other closely related fields are encouraged to apply. Candidates with a strong background in WASH or humanitarian response are particularly encouraged to apply. Please note, applicants must have completed their MS degree by the time of their start date at Lehigh.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please email Dr. String ( and include: your curriculum vitae, a brief summary of your skills and research interests as it relates to the available projects, and two references. All applicants should meet the minimum application requirements set by the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University ( For more information on the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, please attend a weekly grad student webinar or contact Julie Demotte ( The application deadline is January 15, 2023 for a Fall start.

Dr. Gabrielle String is an Assistant Professor at Lehigh University with a joint appointment in Civil & Environmental Engineering and Community & Population Health. Before joining Lehigh she was a postdoc and Research Assistant Professor in Environmental Health Engineering at Tufts University. She has 15 years of WASH experience in development and humanitarian contexts.






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