U.K. nationals: Investigating the effectiveness of ‘Drinking Water Safety Planning’ for future smart water systems - PhD

University of Leeds

Leeds, UK 🇬🇧

Key facts

Type of research degree: Integrated PhD and Master
Application deadline: Tuesday 2 May 2023
Project start date: Sunday 1 October 2023
Country eligibility: UK only
Funding: Funded
Source of funding: Centre for doctoral training
Supervisors: Professor Barbara Evans
Schools: School of Civil Engineering

Technology is developing at a rapid pace, providing significant opportunities to improve how we live and work in the world. The development of IoT, cloud data and analytics, and machine learning/AI, have significant potential to help in the monitoring and management of drinking water and wastewater systems. Although water utilities are beginning to embrace these technologies and seeing improvements in parts of their networks, there are still big gaps in the knowledge of what to do with all this new data and improve performance. Riskoa Ltd, in collaboration with Northumbria Water Ltd, are developing a centralised information management system that is based on the WHO endorsed, and now DWI regulated, Drinking Water Safety Planning methodology, with the potential to integrate a number of technologies and sensors to provide a more centralised way of managing water system safety and performance.

The deployment of the Digital DWSP system above will provide more real time visibility to water operators but there will be a number of underlying research questions on how to solve certain performance related problems; and this activity through the combination of engineering knowledge and data analytics will form the foundation of this PhD. The student will be required to work with this system framework and investigate complicated causes of events, understand why they occur, and look at the best ways to solve them.

Candidates for this role should have strong mechanical/civil engineering background as a minimum and an interest/experience in data analytics, cloud applications, and sensors is seen as a major plus. They will be based at the University of Leeds, with regular work on site at NWL and/or Riskoa’s office. There is the option to be based for a period at the water company if this is desired. Alongside their internal supervision, they would also be externally supervised by the CEO of Riskoa Ltd (who has over a decade of experience in the application of DWSP for both UK companies and UNICEF/WHO), and the senior water safety officer at NWL. Reporting to these external companies would be expected quarterly, but provides another unique opportunity for the student to gain some commercial insights alongside their period of study.

Full description

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water and Waste Infrastructure Systems

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the University’s website. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for EPSRC CDT Water and Waste Infrastructure Systems and in the research information section that the research degree you wish to be considered for is Investigating the effectiveness of ‘Drinking Water Safety Planning’ for future smart water systems as well as Professor Barbara Evans as your proposed supervisor.  If you wish to apply for the standard CDT Water WISER programme, you will need to submit a separate application.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English language requirements (below).

As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.

Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis.  Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application.  We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.

Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 2 May 2023:

  • Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date
  • Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project
  • CV
  • Funding information:  CDT Water WISER

Entry requirements

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

English language requirements

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

Funding on offer

A highly competitive EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water WISER studentship in partnership with Riskoa Ltd and in collaboration with Northumbria Water, consisting of the award of fees with a maintenance grant (currently £17,668 in academic session 2022/23) for 4 years.

This opportunity is open to UK applicants only. All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in GREEN Industry Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.

Please refer to the UKCISA website for information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.

Contact details

For further information about this project, please contact James McKay – CDT Water WISER Centre Manager: e: j.mckay@leeds.ac.uk

For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions: e: phd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk





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