EPSRC PhD studentship in: Protecting Drinking Water Safety

Posted: 20.05.2019

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4-years tax-free stipend of £19,000 per year and all tuition fees paid


A partnership between The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Water Centre and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, as part of the Water Infrastructure Resilience EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training


Closing Date for Applications: 21st June 2019

Start Date: 30th September 2019 (contract duration 4 years)

Interview Date: 4th July 2019


This fully funded project provides an unrivalled opportunity to improve and apply the latest technology for the monitoring of critical drinking water infrastructure, service reservoirs. The focus will be on the ability to detect the onset of failure so that an intervention can be planned to avoid detrimental impacts. Ultimately the research will help ensure high quality drinking water and hence protecting public health and well-being.


Service reservoirs are critical but often overlooked infrastructures. They are known to contribute to the degradation of drinking water on its journey from the treatment works to customer taps. Bacteriological failures at service reservoirs have been shown to be double those found at water treatment works. The condition and performance of these structures is therefore crucial in protecting the safety of drinking water. However, currently the maintenance of these structures is reactive or time based, as there are no easy or suitable ways of monitoring their condition or performance. Therefore, failures can occur for long periods of time prior to any interventions, or maintenance carried out when not needed.


This PhD will look to (evaluate existing and) apply and improve new approaches to assess service reservoir performance to inform maintenance. It will build on application of the latest technology and data analysis, but with an open scope allowing for genuinely new or radical approaches. Approaches will focus on high resolution in-service assessment, providing a level of information far beyond what is possible with current discrete water quality sampling. The project will progress to field application and evaluation.


The PhD will benefit from being part of WIRe (Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience). WIRe is a collaboration between the three leading UK Universities in water resilient infrastructure. Students will benefit from a bespoke training scheme delivered by world leading authorities from academia and industry, access to world leading experimental and computational facilities as well as close and regular contact with industry and end user partners. Resources are available for international collaboration and conference attendance. WIRe is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community, and offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies. For further information on the CDT WIRe scheme visit the web site at:



The project will be supervised by Prof Joby Boxall, Dr Vanessa Speight and Dr Katherine Fish at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with partners from Dwr Cymru Welsh Water. The normal place of work is expected to be the University of Sheffield, with periods at Dwr Cymru Welsh Water offices and field sites, with travel and subsistence costs provided.


Eligibility Criteria

Normal EPSRC funding eligibility applies to this award, so students must have a relevant connection with the UK (usually established by residence).


Selection Criteria

The selection criteria for the position are a good first degree in relevant science or engineering discipline and enthusiasm and passion for the topic area.


How to apply

Interested candidates should email a covering letter and their Curriculum Vitae to Lindsay Hopcroft (

For information and informal enquiries please contact: Prof. Joby Boxall (


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