Long-term impacts and multiple benefits of green infrastructure in cities. Engineering, PhD Studentship (Funded) Ref: 3118

About the award

Join a world-leading, cross-continental research team

The University of Exeter and the University of Queensland are seeking exceptional students to join a world-leading, cross-continental research team tackling major challenges facing the world’s population in global sustainability and wellbeing as part of the QUEX Institute. The joint PhD programme provides a fantastic opportunity for the most talented doctoral students to work closely with world-class research groups and benefit from the combined expertise and facilities offered at the two institutions, with a lead supervisor within each university. This prestigious programme provides full tuition fees, stipend, travel funds and research training support grants to the successful applicants.  The studentship funding is provided for up to 42 months (3.5 years)

Ten generous, fully-funded studentships are available for the best applicants, 5 offered by the University of Exeter and 5 by the University of Queensland. This select group will spend at least one year at each University and will graduate with a joint degree from the University of Exeter and the University of Queensland.

Find out more about the PhD studentships www.exeter.ac.uk/quex/phds

Successful applicants will have a strong academic background and track record to undertake research projects based in one of the three themes of:  Physical Activity and Nutrition; Healthy Ageing; and Environmental Sustainability.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 26 May 2018 (GMT), with interviews taking place between 25 June and 6 July 2018.  The start date will be January 2019.

Please note that of the 10 Exeter led projects advertised, we expect that up to 5 studentships will be awarded.

Supervisor information

Exeter Academic Lead:  Professor Guangtao Fu

Queensland Academic Lead:  Professor Zhiguo Yuan

Project Description

Cities have become the real battle ground in the fight against global threats such as climate change and extreme events (e.g., urban flooding); stormwater management plays a fundamental role in improving water security, public health and environmental sustainability in cities. Green Infrastructure (GI) is at the heart of government policies and industry practices in stormwater management to achieve the long-term resilience and sustainability of water and wastewater services. Indeed this is highlighted in Ofwat’s Resilience in the round strategy.

Significant knowledge gaps exist in understanding the long-term impacts of green infrastructure in cities, as previous research focused on short-term, events based impacts at a small scale. The main gaps include 1) lack of holistic understanding of water quality impacts at a city scale; 2) lack of integrated understanding of the downstream impact on wastewater infrastructure (e.g., the sewer system and wastewater treatment); 3) lack of computer models that are computationally efficient for long-term simulations to capture seasonal and annual variability in uncertain variables such as rainfall and soil conditions.

Aim and Methodologies
This project aims to gain new understanding of the long-term impacts of green infrastructure on urban wastewater infrastructure and services. The outcome of this research will help make informed decisions on urban planning regulations and large investments required for urban wastewater infrastructure to achieve the long-term resilience and environmental sustainability in cities. The main tasks include:

1) Develop a new fast Cellular Automata (CA) based surface water model, which enables long-term, city-scale simulations at a high resolution (1mx1m). This will build on the flood model CADDIES developed at Exeter.

2) Collect and analyse case study data required, which will focus on water quality data as other data such as DEM and land use data are already available from previous projects (London will be used as a case study).

3) Building on the SeweX model developed at Queensland, which can predicts the physical, chemical and biological processes in sewers, a new sewer water quality model will be developed and validated for combined sewers.

4) Integrate the new CA model with the new sewer model. The integrated model will be calibrated and validated using the case study data.

5) Identify key pollutant sources in urban runoff and green infrastructure, which have a significant effect on sewers and wastewater services using various sensitivity and uncertainty analysis approaches.

6) Assess the impact of relevant England and Australian urban planning policies and future uncertainty (e.g., climate change) on wastewater services and sewer infrastructure. The new data from UKCP18 will be used for the London case study.

7) Develop optimal adaptation strategies on wastewater services and sewer infrastructure, using many objective visual analytics.

8) Write up a PhD thesis.

Work Plan. The student will spend the first and last years at Exeter working on tasks (1-2) and (7-8), respectively, and the 2nd and 3rd years at QU focussing on tasks (3-6). Co-supervision will be maintained via monthly Skype meetings and physical meetings during key conferences.


Application deadline:26th May 2018
Value:Full tuition fees, stipend of £15,000 p.a, travel funds of up to £15,000, and RTSG of £15,000 are available over the 3.5 year studentship
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Recruitmentpgrenquiries@exeter.ac.uk

How to apply

You will be asked to submit some personal details and upload a full CV, supporting statement, academic transcripts and details of two academic referees. Your supporting statement should outline your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake this project, with particular reference to the collaborative nature of the partnership with the University of Queensland, and how this will enhance your training and research.

Applicants who are chosen for interview will be notified on 20 June 2018, and must be available for interview between 25 June and 6 July 2018

Please quote reference 3118 on your application and in any correspondence about this studentship.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should be highly motivated and have, or expect to obtain, either a first or upper-second class BA or BSc (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.