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Cranfield Water Science Institute

Water Science

The Cranfield Water Science Institute is an internationally excellent centre undertaking transformational research and education in the science, engineering and management of water in the municipal, industrial and natural environments.

We work in all aspects of water – whether it is helping to ensure safe, clean supplies for domestic consumption, assessing agricultural needs for food production, conserving habitats or improving process engineering for manufacturing.

We are also a founding member of Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and provide the registered office and the Honorary Secretary for the UK Irrigation Association (UKIA).

Our activities are underpinned by world-class facilities, including a pilot-plant hall at the University’s own sewage treatment works, state-of-the-art soil and water laboratories, a grey water treatment pilot area, a managed borehole drilling site and soil and irrigation testing facilities.

Our research is largely applied and industry focused, helping to solve real problems for a diverse range of companies, government agencies and NGOs, both in the UK and overseas.


  • Our impact and facilities

    The high quality of our research was reflected in the latest Research Assessment Exercise, explaining why we are one of the UK’s top five research intensive universities. Our funding comes from the Research Councils, government agencies, consultancies, charities, the European Commission and industry, notably the water utilities.

    Our research, consultancy and training activities are underpinned by world-class facilities and service resources that are unique to Cranfield. Recent investment has added an unparalleled environmental analytical facility for micropollutants and emerging contaminants in soil, waste, water and wastewater media. We have:

    • On-site sewage treatment works, with its own dedicated pilot-plant hall
    • State-of-the-art clean water, fermentation, microbiology, wastewater and water chemistry laboratories that has extensive analytical services
    • A containerised laboratory where grey water treatment pilot plants are stationed
    • A managed borehole drilling site
    • Soil and irrigation testing facilities.
    • Cranfield Water Science Institute

      All aspects of water: ensuring safe, clean supplies for domestic consumption, assessing agricultural needs for food production, conserving habitats, improving process engineering for manufacturing

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  • Our people

    We have a large community of post-doctoral staff and researchers, making us the UK’s largest water-focused postgraduate group.

    • Name: Mr Olivier Autin
      Job Title: Research Fellow in Membrane Science
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Catarina Capela Henriques
      Job Title: Research Fellow
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Professor Elise Cartmell
      Job Title: Professor of Water Technology
      Areas of expertise:
      Energy, Biomass and Waste, Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Andre Daccache
      Job Title: Academic Fellow
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Alireza Daneshkhah
      Job Title: Lecturer in Utility Asset Management
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Environmental Policy and Regulation, Water Science and Engineering, Defence and Security, Operational Analysis and Simulation, Management, Strategy, Complexity and Change Management, Additional Area, Safety, Resilience, Risk and Reliability, Computing, Simulation and modelling
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    • Name: Dr Gabriela Dotro
      Job Title: Senior Research Fellow in Environmental Engineering
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Daniel El Chami
      Job Title: Research Fellow
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Richard Franceys
      Job Title: Senior Lecturer
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment
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    • Name: Dr Aine Gormley
      Job Title: Research Fellow in Water Management
      Areas of expertise:
      Energy, Energy Policy and Regulation, CO2 Capture and Transport, Environmental Impacts, Environment, Carbon, Climate Adaptation and Environmental Risk, Environmental Policy and Regulation, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Emma Goslan
      Job Title: Lecturer in Water Chemistry
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Tim Hess
      Job Title: Reader
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Managing Corporate Sustainability, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Ian Holman
      Job Title: Reader in Integrated Land and Water Management
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Soil Resources, Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Miss Victoria Janes
      Job Title: Research Fellow
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Peter Jarvis
      Job Title: Senior Lecturer
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Professor Bruce Jefferson
      Job Title: Professor of Water Engineering
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Professor Paul Jeffrey
      Job Title: Professor of Water Management
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Environmental Policy and Regulation, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Professor Simon Judd
      Job Title: Professor of Membrane Technology
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Jerry Knox
      Job Title: Reader Agricultural Water Management
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    • Name: Dr Jitka MacAdam Sproat
      Job Title: Research Fellow in Chemical Processes
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    • Name: Dr Ben Martin
      Job Title: Research Fellow
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Waste Management and Resource Efficiency, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Ewan McAdam
      Job Title: Lecturer in Process Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Andreas Nocker - Einsiedler
      Job Title: Lecturer in Drinking Water Microbiology
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Environment and Health, Soil Resources, Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Water Science and Engineering, Health, Biosensors and Medical Diagnostics, Food Safety, Health Risks from Hazardous Substances
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    • Name: Dr Alison Parker
      Job Title: Lecturer
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Carbon, Climate Adaptation and Environmental Risk, Environment and Health, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Marc Pidou
      Job Title: Research Fellow in Resource Recovery
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Renji Remesan
      Job Title: Research Fellow
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Water Science and Engineering, Additional Area, Computing, Simulation and modelling
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    • Name: Dr Heather Smith
      Job Title: Academic Fellow
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Environmental Policy and Regulation, Water Science and Engineering
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    • Name: Dr Ana Soares
      Job Title: Lecturer in Biological Processes
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Carbon, Climate Adaptation and Environmental Risk, Energy and the Environment, Monitoring and Environmental Informatics, Waste Management and Resource Efficiency, Water Science and Engineering, Additional Area
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    • Name: Dr Chris Warwick
      Job Title: Research Fellow on Environmental Sensors
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Monitoring and Environmental Informatics, Water Science and Engineering, Health, Biosensors and Medical Diagnostics, Smart Materials, Manufacturing, Sensor Technologies
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    • Name: Professor Keith Weatherhead
      Job Title: Professor of Water Resources & Climate Adaptation
      Areas of expertise:
      Environment, Carbon, Climate Adaptation and Environmental Risk, Water Science and Engineering
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  • Working with us

    In addition to excellence in research and teaching, we provide consultancy and training services to business clients through the University.

    Our consultancy activities centre around problem solving – linking business needs to our expertise on water and sanitation, water policy, modeling, water and wastewater technology and risk management for the water sector.

    We run bespoke short courses and training programmes for businesses both in-house and on-site to help bring clients up-to-date with technical developments and management strategies.

    With access to facilities and other personnel here at Cranfield we are in a strong position to support your organisation.

    We provide short term feasibility studies, and develop strategic partnerships with clients so that they can access our expert knowledge and specialist advice. We also help companies to add value to their businesses, by leveraging funding from government departments and regional development agencies to develop or test new products and gain competitive advantage.

  • Current research projects

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    • Climate change impacts on the UK potato industry

      This project assessed the impacts of climate change on UK potato production, focussing on yield, irrigation water use, land suitability and soil management,

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    • Immersed membrane bioreactor optimisation

      Pilot-scale study of fouling and clogging of membrane bioreactors treating medium-high strength industrial wastewaters based on full-scale membrane modules

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    • The Nano Membrane Toilet

      Designed for single-household use. The flush uses a unique rotating mechanism to transport the mixture into the toilet without demanding water whilst blocking odour and the user’s view of waste.

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  • Current research opportunities

    Candidates are advised to submit a preliminary proposed research topic (three – four pages) with their application forms for the above programmes. This should contain the following information:

    • Previous Research and Rationale: A brief indication of research that has been undertaken on the chosen topic of which the candidate is aware, demonstrating the scope for further research in the subject area.
    • Aim and Objectives: A clear statement of the overall aim and specific objectives of the proposed research should be given
    • Methodology: A brief and provisional account of how the applicant anticipates that the work might be carried out
    • Qualifications: A statement as to why the applicant believes that he or she is particularly qualified to undertake the proposed research.

    We also offer students from the European Union and overseas the opportunity to study as a Visiting Student on a research project with members of academic staff and full-time researchers. Each visiting student research placement can be for a period of up to 12 months.

  • Postgraduate degrees

    Cranfield Water Science Institute offer a range of professionally accredited postgraduate programmes in relation to water, attracting home and international students and post-doctoral researchers to participate in our courses and research programmes. We aim to provide an intellectually challenging environment, where research excellence is encouraged and people can flourish. We are also proud to lead STREAM: The Industrial Doctoral Centre for the water sector.

    Industrially relevant, our courses are directed through an Industry Advisory Panel that ensures the content is relevant to employer requirements.

    Cranfield Water Science and Engineering postgraduates go onto rewarding careers with water utilities, environmental engineering consultancies, process contractors, equipment manufacturers and suppliers serving the international water industry, as well as companies where water and wastewater processing is a concern.

    Our students compete for prestigious awards including the British Water Prize, the Lorch Foundation Prize, the Degremont Prize and the Institution of Chemical Engineers' Prize, which are recognised worldwide.

    Maintaining contact with former students is important to the Water Science and Engineering team. The Water Science Alumni Association is a useful network for water sector people with former students often developing their careers as a consequence of this network. Our alumni are great advocates for our MSc and MTech programmes.

    • Community Water and Sanitation

      Study the planning, implementation and management of sustainable water supply and sanitation projects with rural and urban communities in low and middle-income countries.

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    • Environmental Water Management

      This Environmental Water Management postgraduate course provides students with essential skills and knowledge required to solve complex problems.

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    • PhD - School of Applied Sciences:

      Suitable for candidates wishing to combine the depth of a doctoral course with a broad foundation of knowledge and skills in your area of specialisation.

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    • Utility Asset Management

      Work within Cranfield University's Water Science Institute, the UK's largest water-focused postgraduate group.

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    • Water and Wastewater Engineering

      The Water and Wastewater Engineering programme is ideal for individuals who want to make a real difference to delivering reliable water supplies, or to maintaining and enhancing river and ground water

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    • Water Processes - Advanced Professional Masters

      The Master of Technology - Advanced Professional Masters (MTech) qualification is an innovative model of postgraduate study combining taught Masters study and company based research.

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  • Professional Development (CPD)

    We offer both tailor-made training for clients and short courses shaped around our postgraduate modules to help bring clients up-to-date with technical developments and management strategies.

    The emphasis is ‘hands on’ not ‘chalk and talk’ and many of our courses have CPD accreditation with professional bodies.

    Recent examples of bespoke programmes include a short course on water processes, technology and engineering for the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, training for regulatory officers in the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and water management training for the African sugarcane industry.

  • Publications

    • Smith HM, Wall G & Blackstock KL (2013) The role of map-based environmental information in supporting integration between river basin planning and spatial planning, Environmental Science & Policy, 30 81-89.

    • Glavan M, White SM & Holman IP (2012) Water quality targets and maintenance of valued landscape character - Experience in the Axe catchment, UK, Journal of Environmental Management, 103 142-153.

    • Knox JW & Wade S (2012) Assessing climate risks to UK agriculture, Nature Climate Change, 2 (6) 378-378.

    • View all publications

  • Case studies and clients

    Current case studies include:

    • Catchment processes
    • Infrastructure and governance
    • International development
    • Maintaining the flow
    • Membrane processes
    • Securing food in a changing world
    • Sewage works of the future.

    In government, our research clients include the Research Councils (e.g. EPSRC) the Environment Agency, rural development agencies (e.g. East of England Development Agency), the European Commission, Natural England, Defra, and DFID. Internationally, our clients include the World Bank, BP, Shell, Unilever, Veolia Water, the International Water Association, American Water Works Association, Keppel Seghers, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    In the UK, we have research framework agreements with Yorkshire Water, Severn Trent Water and Anglian Water and strong research relationships with United Utilities, Southern Water, Affinity Water, Thames Water, South West Water and Northumbrian Water. We also carry out research for the industry levy boards such as the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board.

    In consultancy, our clients include the US Water Recycling Programme, Singapore Public Utilities Board, Hong Kong Drainage Services Department, various charitable organisations and NGOs, the Lloyds Register, US National Water Research Institute, Sentinel, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, Procter and Gamble, the Environment Agency, Fera and McCain Foods.

    • There are currently no case studies listed in this area.