Master’s opportunity: Semi-decentralised water treatment for humanitarian emergencies

University of Victoria

Victoria, BC, CA

The project

Current relief approaches rely either on centralised “bulk” or decentralised “point-of-use” (POU) water treatment. Bulk treatment caters mainly to large populations, it is expensive, less mobile, and can be difficult to establish in a timely manner. POU treatment puts the burden of treatment on the beneficiaries and often takes weeks or months to reach all beneficiaries, sometimes providing inconsistent results. Semi-decentralised water treatment (SDWT) can overcome some of these limitations. The proposed approach relies on pre-mixed chemical formulation for the treatment of surface waters. With enhanced deployability (remote/dispersed populations) and scalability, this approach offers operational simplicity conducive to a more reliable and consistent use at the community level for turbidity reduction and pathogen inactivation. This project seeks to validate the performance of this approach in laboratory testing followed by a field-based effectiveness evaluation in a humanitarian setting in collaboration with a relief agency and an industrial partner

The ideal candidate:

  • GPA of 3.4 (out of 4.0 scale) or higher;
  • Undergraduate degree in a relevant field: civil/chemical/environmental engineering, microbiology, biology, chemistry or biochemistry;
  • Previous laboratory/research experience;
  • Motivation, independence, resourcefulness, scientific curiosity and passion;
  • A clean driving license.


As per our Departmental policy, a minimum funding of $17,500 CAD per year is guaranteed for the two year MASc programme. Graduate funding support from the Department of Civil Engineering is granted through a variety of mechanisms including but not limited to: research grant support, teaching assistantships, awards and fellowships, and research contracts. Top-ups are available to students that receive independent research scholarships.

Highly qualified and motivated students will be invited to submit an application (CV, academic records and cover letter) to [email protected]. Please cite “SDWT” on the subject line of your email.