PhD studentship in Environmental Engineering: Integrated biological system design of catchment systems for non-point pollution control

Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 🇬🇧

About the Project


We are looking for an enthusiastic and curious PhD researcher to work on a highly interdisciplinary project to optimize the biological systems in vegetation strips (VS) for the removal of pollutants and nutrient recovery from agricultural runoff, by coupling advanced microbial ecology techniques with traditional sustainable practices. Agricultural non-point source pollution management is critical in controlling the quality of our watersheds. VS are effective improving water quality, however, there are several caveats related to the extended use of VS, including soil characteristics, slope, flowrate, soil microbial activity, and accumulation of pesticides. This strategy will provide a comprehensive understanding of the processes involved in nutrient uptake in vegetation strips, which will be optimized with local and ubiquitous resources for a sustainable and resilient solution. The researcher will use advanced environmental and state-of-the-art molecular techniques to identify key biogeochemical processes controlling nutrient recovery and pesticide removal in VS. The results from this project are expected to produce a sustainable system for efficient pollution control that can be easily implemented in the major areas of concern between agricultural lands and main water bodies. This PhD is linked to the EPSRC CDT WIRe Programme, which gives the additional benefit of attending all programme activities (further information

Number Of Awards


Start Date

25 September 2023

Award Duration

4 years


Newcastle University, School of Engineering.


Dr Lucia Rodriguez-Freire and Dr Shannon Flynn

Eligibility Criteria

A First Meng/MSc in a relevant subject or First or upper second class UG degree (2:1). Enthusiasm for research, the ability to think and work independently, excellent analytical skills and strong verbal and written communication skills are also essential requirements. 

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 PhD student per academic year).

 Further information will be provided at application stage. Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills.

 International applicants may require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate prior to obtaining their visa and to study on this programme. 

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal 

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.  

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study:  

·      search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code:8209F 

·      Select ‘PhD Water Infrastructure & Resilience (WIRe)’ as the programme of study 

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Questions’ section:  

·      a ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) – upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form  

·      the studentship code WIRE2304 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field  

·      when prompted for how you are providing your research proposal – select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert. You do not need to upload a research proposal.  

Contact Details

Funding Notes

Fully funded Studentship with a tax-free annual living allowance of £21,000, a research training support grant + UKRI fees paid.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development