Postdoctoral Research Officer in Sustainable Water Supply, Use, and Treatment

Bangor University

Bangor, , GB

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral Research Officer to work on determining and improving the sustainability of water supply, use, and treatment. Being part of the Dŵr Uisce project, this position will be based in the School of Natural Sciences at Bangor University. The successful applicant will work closely with researchers within the project team across various disciplines and be part of an exciting project that cuts across research, industry, and policy.

The scheme has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme

The distribution, treatment and use of water is responsible for very considerable use of energy and emissions of greenhouse gases, whilst also of course being an essential service on which society depends. Ambitious targets by water companies to improve their sustainability, coupled with pressure from government and consumers mean that there is a real need to reduce the environmental impacts of all stages of the water sector. Similarly, large users of water are seeking ways to reduce their use of energy and water and the associated environmental (and economic) burdens.

The successful candidate will be experienced in using models, tools, and metrics to explore the sustainability of goods or services and will explore strategies to improve the sustainability of water supply and use. Examples of relevant approaches include life cycle assessment, and carbon and water footprinting.

Depending on the strengths of the successful candidate, they could be tasked to undertake a combination of the following:
• Work closely with water companies and large-scale water consumers (e.g. agri-food, hospitality) in Wales and Ireland to develop technical best practice guidelines to improve the efficiency of water supply, use and treatment
• Explore the potential of energy recovery in the water cycle from a circular economy perspective, such as heat recovery or hydro power, using life cycle assessment and other quantitative tools
• Develop toolkits for the above sectors to promote circular economy in design and delivery of water infrastructure including energy recovery technologies
• Provide a roadmap to achieve maximum efficiency in the water-energy nexus
• Develop new metrics for determining the environmental sustainability of water supply and use.

Candidates should have a PhD (or be near to completion) in a relevant subject area, e.g. Environmental or Water sciences, Engineering, Industrial ecology, or a related discipline.

The successful candidate will be expected to commence as soon as possible and the post is available until 28/02/2023.

Applications will only be accepted via our on-line recruitment website, However, in cases of access issues due to disability, paper application forms are available by telephoning 01248 383865.

Closing date for applications: 11 June 2021.

Please contact Dr Prysor Williams ([email protected]) for enquiries.

Committed to Equal Opportunities.


The School of Natural Science (SNS) has an international reputation for its research in sustainability and environmental impacts across a whole range of systems. These include the water sector, the agri-food sector, forestry, and the bio-based economy.

In particular, we have strengths in carbon and environmental footprinting, and life cycle assessment to explore the impacts of changes in, for example, energy recovery or eco-design to achieve government and industry environmental targets, e.g. net zero greenhouse gas emissions. This enables the development and testing of mitigation strategies in response to policy and industry drivers in the UK and overseas.

We are a truly international School, collaborating on projects with partners across the world.

The Project

The project ( is a collaboration with Trinity College Dublin’s Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering and Trinity Business School in this research. The project is entitled ‘Distributing our Water Resources: Utilising Integrated, Smart & low-Carbon Energy’ (Dŵr Uisce). The aim of the project is to improve the long-term sustainability of water supply, treatment and end-use in Ireland and Wales through:

1. The development of new innovative technology platforms including micro-hydropower, drain water heat recovery and smart network controls
2. Undertaking local and regional scale economic and environmental impact assessments
3. Developing policy and best practice guidelines to facilitate the implementation of integrated low-carbon and smart energy solutions for the water industry and sectors that are large consumers of water.

The multi-disciplinary research team at Bangor University are responsible for the delivery of low-carbon and resource-efficient deployment of energy recovery technologies, energy auditing and benchmarking of water supply and use, determining the economic cost-benefits of mitigation measures, and assessing climate change impacts on our water resources.

The post will be based in the Thoday Building at Bangor University, though there will be considerable flexibility to work from elsewhere. Some travel may be needed to other parts of Wales, the UK, and to Ireland.

Purpose of the Job

The successful candidate will join an established team of academics, post-doctoral researchers, and PhD students from across a range of disciplines, and will play an important role in further developing sustainability tools and metrics to underpin future interdisciplinary research in the area of water use.

The findings of the research will be publicised through publishing in peer-reviewed journals of an international standing as well as presenting at relevant academic and industry conferences

Main Duties and Responsibilities

• To acquire and apply technical information from the water sector and large water users to determine the environmental cost-benefits of implementing water and energy efficiency measures.
• Using the findings to identify opportunities for efficiency gains and to develop and using existing or developing tools/models to quantify the environmental cost-benefits of implementing those gains (carbon/water footprints, life cycle assessments, etc.).
• Writing reports for funders, as well as other administrative duties as required.
• Submitting the findings as papers for academic journals.
• Liaising closely and collaborating with other members of the project team and stakeholders (e.g., industry, policy-makers). This may involve organising and participating in engagement activities such as webinars, workshops, conferences, articles for the website, and via social media.

Other Duties and Responsibilities

• The post-holder will be expected to participate in performance review and developmental activities.
• The post-holder will be expected to comply with the University’s equality policies and statements, Dignity at Work and Study Policy and the University’s Welsh Language Scheme.
• The post-holder has a general and legal duty of care in relation to health, safety and wellbeing and must take all reasonable steps to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for their self and for other members of staff, students and visitors affected by their actions or inactions.
• The post-holder is also required to comply with all applicable health and safety policies, procedures and risk assessments.
• The post-holder must comply with relevant legal and financial policies and procedures and be aware of their responsibilities in terms of the legal requirements of their post.

Person Specification


• A PhD (or be near to completion of) in a relevant subject area e.g. Environmental or Water sciences, Engineering, Industrial ecology, or a related discipline.


• The ability to interpret technical information and data in the context of water use, resources engineering
• Aptitude for exploring innovative sustainability metrics and development of related tools
• Holistic thinking in terms of environmental issues, understanding of trade-offs
• Good data gathering and analysis skills
• Proficient in one or more relevant IT, life cycle assessment software, programming and modelling skills (e.g. Python, SimaPro)
• Good communication and liaison skills
• Experience in writing research reports and academic papers
• Ability to undertake associated administrative duties, including project cost management
• Ability and flexibility to work in interdisciplinary teams

• An ability to use relevant GIS software / programmes (e.g. ArcGIS, QGIS)


• Ability to research and collate data from a number of different sources (e.g. relevant databases and technical specifications)
• Ability to devise and implement agreed workplans, prioritise time and workload to meet deadlines
• Good computer skills, including MS Office, Powerpoint, Excel
• Be confident enough to represent the project at high-level meetings with funders and stakeholders on an international front
• An approachable, friendly personality, with the ability to communicate effectively with collaborators and stakeholders from diverse educational and professional backgrounds • Excellent communication skills in English

• A background in, and/or good knowledge of the water industry
• A willingness and ability to travel to other parts of Wales, the UK, and to Ireland. For this reason a valid UK driving licence and access to a vehicle would be advantageous.
• The ability to communicate through the medium of Welsh is desirable for this post.


The University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds.  We strive to develop a workforce from all sections of the community regardless of sex, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, trans identity, relationship status, religion or belief, caring responsibilities, or age. We promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language through our progressive Welsh Language Policy. We comply with the Welsh Language Standards and are committed to equality of opportunity. You are welcome to apply for any job in English or Welsh and all applications submitted will be treated equally.

We are a member of Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Gender Equality charter and hold a Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to and progress towards gender equality within the University’s policies, practices, and culture. We are proud to be a Disability Confident employer.

All members of staff have a duty to ensure their actions are in line with the overall environmental aims of the University and minimise their environmental impact.

All offers are made subject to proof of eligibility to work in the UK and receipt of satisfactory references. 

All candidates must meet the requirements of UK ‘right to work’ requirements *** If you require Home Office permission to work in the UK, or need to switch your visa status in order to take this job  we recommend you use the following link to information about the routes into employment and to check eligibility requirements:
Please note that we are unable to employ anyone who does not have the right to live and work in the UK legally.   When applying for this post you will be required to explain the basis upon which you believe you will be able to live and work in the UK legally on the commencement date of the role should your application be successful.

Please note that, in the event of applications being received from candidates on the University’s Redeployment Register with a reasonable skills match to the post specification, these applicants will be given prior consideration. In addition to those on the Redeployment Register, staff members who have been directly affected by the current restructuring exercise will also be given prior consideration.