PhD scholarship: Data quality assurance in digitalization of urban water management

University of Queensland

St Lucia QLD, Australia 🇦🇺

Job No:515364
Area:Faculty Of Engineering, Architecture & Info Tech
Salary (FTE):UQ Scholarship (RTP Rate)NON-BANDED ($28,597.00 – $28,597.00)
Work type:Full Time – Scholarship
Location: St Lucia

Research Environment

UQ ranks in the top 50 as measured by the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities. The University also ranks 46 in the QS World University Rankings, 42 in the US News Best Global Universities Rankings, 66 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 54 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

The Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology (ACWEB) (previously known as Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) is an internationally renowned centre of excellence in innovative water technology and management. We deliver six interlinked programs, including next generation urban water technologies, integrated urban water management, sewer management, nexus of urban water, health and environment, resource efficient agri-industry and environmental biotechnology.

The centre has strong collaborative linkages with industry and an outstanding academic publication record, publishing on average more than 100 papers a year in high quality journals including the most prestigious multidisciplinary journals including Nature and Science, and top discipline journals such as Water Research and Environmental Science and Technology.

The award

Supervisor – Professor Zhiguo Yuan

Sewer systems are among the most critical infrastructure assets for modern urban societies. Urban sewer networks collect and transport domestic and industrial wastewaters to wastewater treatment plants for pollutant removal prior to reuse or environmental discharge, thus protecting both public and environmental health.

Effective sewer management has been to date hindered by the scarcity of sewer data, particularly real-time data. The rapid development of IoT sensors enable their wide deployment in sewer networks. Consequently, the use of IoT sensors allows the collection of much larger volumes of data, orders of magnitude larger compared to traditional sensors. Such large data sets enable machine learning or data-driven modelling, to provide support to online control or off-line decision making.

Led by Prof Zhiguo Yuan AM, an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, the sewer research team at ACWEB is undertaking research on the digitalisation of sewer management. The research focuses on on-line sensing, data analytics and on-line control.

Sensors are often subject to noise, disturbances, and faults, leading to erroneous data. An opportunity exists for an outstanding PhD candidate to develop advanced algorithms for data quality assurance. This will involve the use of machine learning with support from digital twins. The candidate will be jointly supervised by sewer experts and data scientists. Ample opportunities exist for the student to work with water utilities.

A working knowledge of urban water systems would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

Selection criteria

To be eligible to apply, you must also meet the entry requirements for Higher Degrees by Research at UQ.

This scholarship is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and International students who are able to be in Australia at the time of commencement. With current border restrictions to Australia in place international offshore applicants should consider a commencement of July 2022.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of computer science, electrical engineering or control engineering and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of data science and machine learning is highly desirable.


The 2021 Research Training Program (RTP) living allowance stipend rate is AUD$28,597 per annum (indexed annually), which is tax-free for 3.5 years, with the possibility of 1 extension in line with UQ and RTP Scholarship Policy (conditions apply).


For further information, please contact Dr Yarong Song at [email protected]

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select ‘I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship’.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘URBAN WATER-YUAN’ in the ‘Name of scholarship’ field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Applications close: 16 August 2021 (11:00 PM) E. Australia Standard Time

Advertised: 27 Jul 2021
Applications close: 16 Aug 2021 (11:00 PM) E. Australia Standard Time