PhD studentship in Hydrology and Public Health via FindAPhD

Bangor University

Bangor, UK 🇬🇧

About the Project

PhD studentship in Hydrology and Public Health

Bangor University – Environment Centre Wales

Applications are invited for this three-year fully-funded PhD studentship at Bangor University looking at the hydrological flow and movement of chemical markers, viruses and microplastics in urban wastewater systems. The information generated in this PhD underpins the use of wastewater for monitoring public and environmental health and is being undertaken jointly with Public Health Wales, Welsh Government and Dŵr Cymru-Welsh Water. The aim of the project is to investigate the amount, persistence and behaviour of chemicals and biological agents in urban sewer networks and the subsequent release of these into the environment (e.g. illicit drugs, hormones, health markers, pharmaceuticals). It therefore brings together the fields of hydrology, public health and environmental science. This information will be used to allow more targeted interventions to be put in place to promote our understanding of how these markers can be used to inform national policy. The general approach has been successfully trialled by our group for tracking the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in the UK (Hillary et al., 2021; Wade et al., 2022) and is being used to inform government decision making, particularly now that mass testing has stopped. In this PhD, we aim to capitalise on the national infrastructure developed under the COVID-19 pandemic and expand the remit to better understand the hydrological flow and fate of a wide range of chemical/biological markers. The PhD will be based in the Welsh Government-funded National Environment-Based COVID-19 Testing Facility located at Bangor University. The project will involve a combination of fieldwork (e.g. hydrological dye tracing), laboratory experimental work (e.g. chemical persistence) and the use of hydrological models to predict residence times and fate. The PhD will work closely with colleagues in Public Health Wales. Due to its relatively small population (3.1 million people) and high-quality spatial health ad demographic data, Wales offers the perfect location to undertake this research. In addition, the work will be used to directly inform future government policy relating to public and environmental health.

This project presents an excellent opportunity for candidates interested in hydrology related to public health and the wider One Health agenda. It is also in a field of research which is internationally significant and is likely to lead to direct impact in relation to the way we monitor and manage human wellbeing both in the UK and overseas.

The PhD project will provide training and experience in field sampling, setting up and running experiments, advanced analytical techniques, data analysis, report writing and liaison with a wide range of stakeholders. The successful candidate will join a vibrant and large research group (ca. 30 people) which is led by the team of Prof Davey Jones, Dr Kata Farkas and Dr Ellie Jamieson. The post will be located in Environment Centre Wales which was recently ranked #1 by the UK 2022 Research Excellence Framework for its research impact in environmental science. The successful candidate will have their own office space and full access to the research facilities available at the Environment Centre Wales, Bangor University.

References Hillary et al. (2021) Wade et al. (2022)

The studentships are due to commence in October, 2023. This project is a funded Studentship for 3 years in total and will provide UK tuition fees and maintenance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£15,609 per annum, 2021/22 rate).

The project is open to UK and international applicants. However, there may be other costs that international applicants may encounter and need to take into consideration which will not be covered by the studentship. For example, visa fees, healthcare surcharge and relocation costs.

The department holds an Athena Swan Bronze award, highlighting its commitment to promoting gender and ethnic diversity in Science, Engineering and Technology.


Equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) is critical to maintaining excellence and is integral to the running of our research programme. The research group is a dynamic mix of people and ideas and this has underpinned our success in delivering impact during the COVID-19 pandemic. We put training at the core of our programme to provide the student with a unique and enriching experience. Our EDI-friendly selection process aims for a fair recruitment process without the bias of gender, race, age and disability to ensure that selections are made based purely on aptitude and academic merits of applicants.

To apply, please submit with the following documents in PDF format to

· An up-to-date CV giving details of you research experience to date

· A cover letter stating your motivation to undertake the PhD

· Full contact details of two referees


Interviews are ongoing and will continue until we have filled all available places. Early applications are strongly encouraged.

Due to the spread of COVID-19 and its societal implications, interviews may be held on a virtual platform but we will aim to accommodate onsite interviews where permitted.

Entry Requirements

Prospective candidates will be assessed on how well they meet the following essential criteria:

· Applicants for a PhD studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent

qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science (e.g. geography, hydrology, public health, environmental science, biology).

· Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English. If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum English requirements for the programme (IELTS score of 6.0).

· The applicant must have experience in undertaking a research project.

· Experience of undertaking statistical analysis.

· Basic laboratory skills for chemical analysis.

· Strong evidence of understanding of current public health and environmental issues.

· A passion for undertaking a PhD that can make a difference to society.

The following criteria are desirable but not essential:

· Experience in hydrological modelling.

· Experience of hydrological dye tracing.

· Use of chemical analysis approaches for environmental samples.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development