E.U./U.K. nationals: PhD: Soil as a Core Infrastructure to Support Catchment and Water Supply Resilience

Cranfield University

Cranfield, , GB

Application deadline 31st May 2021

Award type PhD

Start date – 27 Sep 2021

Duration of award – 4 years

Eligibility – UK, EU, Rest of World

Reference number – SWEE0136 

This thrilling fully funded four-year PhD will combine field experiments, laboratory analyses and modelling work to deliver insights into the efficacy of soil management interventions to promote soil profile to aquifer connectivity and nutrient retention across a range of crop rotation and field-scale contexts and their impacts at a catchment scale. Close collaboration with Affinity Water will allow the research outputs to support better informed investments in soil management to relieve the pressure on their water supply and treatment infrastructures.

Developing this knowledge base and quantitative evidence could also inform the development of intervention options within forthcoming Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMs) and delivery of the 25 Year Environment Plan. Upon successful application, you will be part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience (WIRe), a world leading collaboration between Cranfield University, University of Sheffield and Newcastle University. The WIRe programme includes bespoke training in technical and personal skills development, and provides opportunities for research placements and access to world leading experimental facilities.

Therefore, this PhD will help you develop into a highly competent researcher with a range of transferable skills (communication, project management and leadership), a solid national and international network, and advanced knowledge to support the implementation of key environmental policies. This will provide you with a privileged position from which to launch a highly successful career in the water sector, either in academia, consultancy or industry.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have:

  • A first or upper second-class UK honours MSc degree, or equivalent, in geomorphology, soil or hydrological sciences.
  • Experience in process-based modelling of soil-water processes is highly valued (not essential).
  • Previous experience of establishing and monitoring field trials (not essential).
  • Excellent communication skills for regular interaction with industrial sponsors, farmers and supervisors.
  • Be self-motivated and with an interest in applied scientific research.

We particularly welcome applications from diverse and under-represented backgrounds and can offer flexible working arrangements.


Sponsored by EPSRC and Affinity Water Ltd, this studentship will cover:

  • A stipend of £19,000 per annum
  • PhD fees
  • Research equipment and consumables to the value of £19,000
  • Research Training Support Grant of £20,000 over the duration of the PhD for research-related personal development activities such as conference attendance and national or international research placements.

The studentship is open to UK and international students (including EU countries) however due to funding rules, no more than 30% of the projects in this cohort can be allocated to international students.

How to apply

Name: Dr Andrea Momblanch

Email: [email protected]

If you are eligible to apply, please complete the online PhD application form