The Universities of Exeter, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff invite applications for 4-year fully-funded PhD studentships as part of its EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Informatics: Science and Engineering (WISE). This new centre-of-excellence will act as a hub of international and industrial collaborations, training scientists and engineers with the relevant skills, knowledge and professional attributes to across industry and academia.
All four universities have strong links with internationally competitive research groups, most of which are from within the subject areas of water informatics, science and engineering. The WISE CDT will link with other traditionally separate disciplines relevant to sustainable water management, ranging from statistics to social sciences, geography, psychology and economics. The WISE CDT partners also work closely with a huge range of local, national and global companies in both the public and private sectors. Students who wish to undertake an optional Industrial or overseas placement will be offered a chance to spend up to 6 months working with industrial or overseas academic supervisors to engage in industry-relevant research or to work with academics from world-leading institutions.
We invite applications from graduates in Engineering, Physics, Applied Mathematics, and Computer Science that have demonstrated excellence at the undergraduate or MSc level in a relevant subject. Applicants should have an interest in specific aspects of water and informatics, and are expected to demonstrate creativity and be open-minded to collaborative work and innovation.
Full scholarships (up to 20 per year), including a stipend to cover living expenses and fees, are available to UK/EU students at standard EPSRC rates. A small number of these may also be available to International students. Industry-orientated studentships may also include a top-up to the stipend.
The WISE CDT core themes are:
Water Informatics: (i) data, sensors, sensor network reliability and telemetry systems for management of water systems (‘big data’, data warehousing, representation, search, communication, visualisation and knowledge discovery); (ii) numerical modelling (data driven, physically based, mechanistic and including uncertainty estimation, uncertainty and sensitivity analysis, data assimilation, etc.); (iii) artificial intelligence and soft computing (tools and interfaces, machine learning, data mining, artificial neural networks, global optimisation, population and evolution-based algorithms, metaheuristics, fuzzy logic etc.); (iv) high performance computing (parallel computing, multi-scalar distributed computing, Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) computing, etc.); and (v) emerging technologies (cloud computing, smart grids, software as a service, embedded devices, Web of Things, etc.).
Water Science and Engineering: (i) the physical system (flow paths for water through the physical environment of the earth, including: the atmosphere, oceans, coasts, estuaries, rivers, lakes, soils, aquifers, etc.); (ii) the biogeochemical system (chemical constituents of water and transformations through macronutrient cycles, contaminants and other chemicals, such as pathogens, pesticides, endocrine disruptors, etc.); (iii) the ecological system (life cycles of organisms that are dependent on their habitats, vegetation and the impact of hydrological variation and regimes on the viability of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems); and (iv) the human/urban system (the engineered environment and infrastructure, water use, water resources management, pollution control, river and marine renewable energy, etc.).
Complementary Research: (i) statistical analysis (statistical data mining, geo-statistical analysis); (ii) social sciences (equity, resilience, justice, ethics); (iii) economics (financial and economic dimensions, water valuation, trade-offs and synergies); (iv) policy science (instruments, markets); (v) business models for water utilities and markets based on new digital services; and (vi) complexity science (chaos theory, water and climate, reliability, efficiency, etc.).
The WISE training approach will include:
- Each PhD will last four years, the first two semesters (Oct-May) will be allocated to a new WISE Postgraduate School in Water Management and Informatics. This Postgraduate School will involve both broader water informatics and wider research methodology training, thereby increasing students’ research skills and enhancing their inter-disciplinarity for careers within or outside academia.
- Further specialist Masters level modules that students are able to attend at the four WISE partner institutions, subsequent to the WISE Postgraduate School.
- A strategy of ‘guided freedom’ that provides the students with opportunities to be active partners in shaping their learning experiences.
- Formalised career development and placement experience at overseas academic or industry partners.
- Further transferable and leadership skills development that will enhance students’ career and project management skills, ensuring they make a successful transition to their career of choice.
Students will be recruited to the Centre, but will be registered to the individual universities. The recruitment policy is common to all and will involve coordinated activities at all four partner institutions.
The first year of the studentship includes a mini-project, and a substantial programme of training. Students will choose from a range of taught modules, and participate in academic and personal development skills-based workshops, together with creativity events and conference-style meetings. Students will also be expected to disseminate their results to the international community via high-impact publications and international conferences. They will spend time working with our partners at international universities, research institutes, and industry.