A PhD project at the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience (WIRe). This exciting fully funded PhD, with an enhanced stipend of £19,000 per annum, will deliver strategies to increase the resilience of drinking water supply to shortages in chemical availability by providing alternatives to conventional delivery of treatment. This research requires fundamental science to look at water processes from a new perspective to develop a new strategy to increase drinking water treatment resilience. This is an experimental project where the successful candidate will work closely with Anglian Water’s and Thames Water's Innovation teams to deliver the outputs of the project.

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Students will benefit from being part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience (WIRe), a world leading collaboration between three UK universities. The WIRe programme includes a bespoke training programme in technical and personal skills development, and provides opportunities for overseas travel and access to world leading experimental facilities (PhDs under this scheme are for a duration of four years full time). More details of the CDT WIRe at www.cdtwire.com

We are an inclusive and diverse doctoral centre and welcome applications from all highly motivated individuals, regardless of background, identity or disability.

A critical aspect of a resilient water supply is having enough chemicals for treatment in the right place at the right time. Recent events related to chemical shortages have highlighted that resilience needs to be improved to avoid the risk of water supply failure. Chemical distribution disruptions are predicted to continue in the short-term, with potential longer-term issues related to chemical access for drinking water treatment. Availability of other chemicals produced in-situ and heavily energy-dependent, such as ozone, may also be at risk due to increases in the cost of energy.  This research looks at delivering answers to questions derived from the potential threat of lack of chemicals to produce drinking water in the future:

-What alternative chemicals can be used to deliver safe drinking water?

-What is the resilience of conventional treatments to lack of chemical availability?

-Which alternative processes exist?

-Are there alternative ways to deliver and operate existing processes?

The aims of this project are therefore to investigate the potential for i)using alternative chemicals in drinking water treatment processes; ii)using new low-energy, chemical free processes; iii) operating existing treatment processes for alternative applications.

The project is an exciting collaboration between Cranfield University, Anglian Water and Thames Water (UK). This project will enable water companies to identify key strategies to operate water treatment under chemical availability stress.

The successful applicant will make use of the Drinking Water Pilot Plant facility at Cranfield University to translate the lab results to full-scale.

Additionally, as part of the CDT WIRe, students will benefit from an enhanced stipend of £19,000 per annum, undertake an international placement, and complete a bespoke training programme within a cohort of up to 15 students. 

At the end of the project the successful applicant will be very well positioned to have a highly successful career in the water sector or in an academic role. We will help you develop into a dynamic, confident and highly competent researcher with wider transferable skills (communication, project management and leadership) with an international network of colleagues.

At a glance

  • Application deadline31 May 2022
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date03 Oct 2022
  • Duration of award4 years
  • EligibilityUK, Rest of World, EU
  • Reference numberSWEE0175

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a minimum equivalent to a UK upper second class degree (2.1) and preferably an MSc in a relevant subject such as chemical engineering, chemistry, environmental engineering or other relevant engineering/science degrees. The ideal candidate should have some understanding of water chemistry and processes. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stakeholders, with an interest in applied scientific research.


Sponsored by EPSRC, Anglian Water and Thames Water, this studentship will provide a bursary of £19,000* per year with fees paid. All training and placement (overseas/industry) costs will also be covered, subject to supervisor approval.


*The studentship is open to UK and international students (including EU countries) however due to funding rules, no more than 30% of the projects in this cohort can be allocated to international students.


Our Values 
Our shared, stated values help to define who we are and underpin everything we do: Ambition; Impact; Respect; and Community. Find out more here. We aim to create and maintain a culture in which everyone can work and study together and realise their full potential. 


Diversity and Inclusion
As an inclusive and diverse doctoral centre, we welcome applications from all highly motivated individuals, regardless of background, identity or disability.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

For further information please contact: 
Name: Dr Irene Carra
Email: irenecarra@cranfield.ac.uk

If you are eligible to apply for the PhD, please complete the online PhD application form stating the reference No. SWEE0175