PhD Candidate via FindAPhD

Hydro Nation Scholars Programme

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom 🇬🇧

The Scottish Water Landscape and its Resilience to Change: An Assessment to Support Future Policy.

Project Description

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate for a PhD project funded by the Hydro Nation Scholars Programme. The project aims to provide a systematic insight into the future of Scottish land use/management/industry and its relationship with water quality and quantity, and provide the necessary evidence (for national strategy, planning and policy) of the resilience of policy and management options to uncertain drivers of change. 


Water is of fundamental importance for Scotland’s economy, health, social wellbeing and environment. The Hydro Nation vision is concerned with “maximising the economic and non-economic value of water resources” in order to make an increased contribution to the Scottish economy. To that end it is necessary to (i) construct plausible scenarios of Scottish land use/management/industry, (ii) valuate their potential consequences for water quantity and quality and (iii) communicate scenarios and model results to stakeholders and policy makers. 

Objectives of the project are: 

1. Stakeholder engagement and participatory modelling to identify key research priorities and tightly define the goals of the PhD based on stakeholder needs. 
2. Evaluate relevant projects, models and datasets previously used to explore future scenarios. Analyse trends in external drivers (meteorological, land use, population), water quality and quantity based on long term observed records in Scotland (as past trends inform the future) and better understand the influences of various drivers on water quality/quantity. 
3. Co-design a set of Scottish futures (“national scenarios”) between regulators, businesses, policy makers and scientists that explore options for e.g. land-use, agricultural practice, waste water treatment, nutrient/carbon/water policy and regulation and socio-economic factors. 
4. Scenarios development and testing for selected catchments representing contrasting typologies (i.e. urban/rural, west (wet & warm)/east (dry and cool), upland (semi-natural)/lowland agricultural), and in a second stage scenario assessment on a national scale. 


The student will be hosted at JHI with periods of training spent at the University of Edinburgh and at key stakeholders in Scotland. The student will be trained in a wide range of hydrological and biogeochemical modelling techniques, statistical analyses, scenario development and interaction with stakeholders. The scholar will be encouraged to attend relevant lectures and seminars at the University and the James Hutton Institute and will be part of a larger cohort of Hydro Nation scholars across Scotland as well as other PhD students at both the James Hutton Institute and the University of Edinburgh. 


Applicants should have a first-class honours degree or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or equivalent) in Earth and Environmental Sciences (e.g. Environmental Sciences, Environmental Engineering, Hydrology, Geography, or any other relevant numerate, scientific discipline). 

Funding Notes

The Hydro Nation Scholars Programme is an open competition for PhD Scholars to undertake approved projects, hosted within Scottish Universities and Research Institutes. 
Full funding is available from the Scottish Government (to host institutions via the Scottish Funding Council). The funding available will be in line with the Research Councils UK doctoral stipend levels and indicative fees. 
Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in February 2018. A more detailed plan of the studentship is available to candidates upon application.