PhD Studentship (Achieving a Step Change in Water Management) via Environment Job UK

University of Surrey

Guildford, United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Project Overview and Background

The University of Surrey is keen to become more sustainable in its day to day operations, and a key element of this is to understand, manage and reduce its water consumption. Guildford and the surrounding area are becoming constrained regarding long-term water supply, and as the University grows it is important this is done in a sustainable way. This project will help the University put in place a long term “Water Plan” to significantly reduce water consumption, and help it become more sustainable.


To understand, proactively manage and significantly reduce the amount of water the University of Surrey uses.
To reduce water consumption at the University by 40% from 2018 – 2023 (5 years).
To investigate and implement a range of water saving methodologies and technologies, both well established and innovative.
To develop the University’s “Water Plan”, forming a key strategic part of the University’s Sustainability Strategy and Plan.
To reduce the University’s water costs.

Project Deliverables

Produce a summary of good practise elsewhere across a diverse range of site characteristics.
Develop a clear picture of the current status of water use and disposal, through the review of existing data, systems and reports for the Stag Hill campus. Establish a water baseline to monitor progress against.
Investigate and assess appropriate water saving technologies & processes, both well established and innovative that have potential to deliver required level water savings.
Produce “The Water Plan”, to achieve a 40% reduction in water consumption across the University (40% per capita student).
Take responsibility for leading on the existing water consumption / conservation projects, in particular the Stag Hill borehole and on-going water conservation measures across the Stag Hill campus.
Consider the potential to implement the Water Plan at the Manor Park campus.
Support the implementation of “The Water Plan” to deliver the 40% water saving. Monitor and report on progress.
Communicate regularly to staff and students on the progress of the Water Plan.


A range of approaches will be utilised in this project. They will include, but are not limited to:

Examination of existing commercial and academic literature to assess current state of the art for sustainable water use and delivery
Analysis of quantitative data through spreadsheets and possibly water modelling (if appropriate)
Stakeholder identification and engagement to understand the constraints of the Stag Hill campus, and to develop a feasible and cost effective water plan
Potentially some experimentation of new technologies to assess effectiveness in proposed plan
Cost / benefit modelling

Person specification

English proficiency
Expertise in water science / water engineering, or mechanical engineering
A strong interest in the environment with understanding about sustainability
Very good communication skills, covering written, verbal and presentations. Good stakeholder engagement is required at all levels.
Confident and mature
Good interpersonal skills – an active and engaged team player, also able to go out and initiate meeting new people
Ability to work independently, taking responsibility for their workload and deliverables
Practical and solutions focussed
Technical skills needed – computer literate, financial business planning / budget management, reporting
Minimum 2 years work experience
The candidate must be able to display a capacity for independent thought, as well as a pragmatic attitude to working within industry


All applications must be made through the online application form and include ALL of the following documentation to be considered:

Up to date cv
Cover letter including why this project is of interest and how your experience and interests make you a suitable candidate. On application please add the cover letter under the option for Research proposal.
Degree certificates and transcripts – Bachelors and Masters if appropriate
Contact details for 2 referees – 2x academic references or 1x academic reference and 1x other reference
Please ensure you state specifically under ‘Research Area’ that you are applying for the Surrey Estates studentship.

Project Positioning within the Organisation and Impact

The Estates and Facilities Management department manages the estate on behalf of the University, including all: maintenance, refurbishments, new build projects, planning and development. The department is also responsible for energy & water management and infra-structure. The University has over 250 buildings across an extensive green campus.

The researcher will be based in Estates and Facilities Management, within the Sustainability Team and reporting to Matthew Arnold, the Carbon Manager. Additionally the researcher will be working closely with: Sam Stott (Utility Analyst), Cat Reeby (Sustainability Advisor), Tim Copp (Senior Mechanical Engineer).

Key Dates and Information

This project is due to begin on the 1st October 2018. The successful candidate will spend an initial 12 weeks in Guildford, UK undertaking intensive sustainability and personal development training, after which they will be predominately based at the University of Surrey.

The programme will run for three to four years.

Stipend: The successful candidate will receive a generous stipend of £18,000 per annum throughout this time (with potential to increase to c. £20,000 per annum after two years). Stipends are usually tax-free and DPs will also benefit from an additional £500 p.a. allowance for attendance at conferences etc. In addition to this,

Fees: Full-time tuition fees (£4,195) will be covered by the PDS programme at the current Home/EU rate for the duration of the programme. International students will need to provide the difference between UK/EU and overseas fees. Please refer to our programme page for further details – . Please ensure you address this in your cover letter. We unfortunately have no other financial support available.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 18th July and Interviews for this post will take place week of 23rd July 2018.