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STREAM EngD Studentship: Drinking water disinfection by-products - characterizing the formation pre-cursors in Scottish waters to optimize control strategies

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Newcastle University
26 March 2012
North East England > Tyne & Wear
Course fee
not specified

Further information

STREAM EngD Studentship: Drinking water disinfection by-products - characterizing the formation pre-cursors in Scottish waters to optimize control strategies

  • Reference Code: CI558

Closing Date: 30th April 2012


Name of the supervisors
Academic advisors: Dr David Werner and Prof David Graham
Industrial advisor: Paul Weir

EPSRC and Scottish Water

Duration of the award
4 years

Project Introduction
The Skills, Technology, Research and Management for the UK Water Sector (STREAM) programme is delivered by a consortium of five universities, all of which are centres of excellence in water science and engineering, together with project sponsors from the water industry.The programme is co-ordinated by Cranfield University and includes Imperial College London and the universities of Newcastle, Sheffield and Exeter.

The STREAM programme enables talented researchers to develop their skills and careers, while obtaining an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) degree.  Further information about the STREAM EngD can be found on the Newcastle University website.

Project description
Drinking water is normally chlorinated before distribution to maintain disinfectant residuals during its movement through distribution networks. However, an undesirable side effect is realised through the formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs) - which includes the regulated Trihalomethanes (THMs). DBPs are the product of reactions between the disinfectant and source water organic matter such as humic substances. To effectively control DBP formation, it is urgently desired to understand better the relationship between source water organic matter and THM formation.

This project will undertake a detailed characterization of organic matter in Scottish waters with a wide range of state-of-the-art analytical tools such as organic matter fractioning with resins and/or membranes according to base/neutral/acid, hydrophobic/hydrophilic, and size (e.g., ultrafiltration); microscopic identification of algae and organic particles; gross microbial community structure evaluation using existing genetic tools segregating by function rather than genotype (using qPCR); structural analysis with Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Pyrolysis/Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry, and Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry; and isotopic 13C/12C ratios with  Gas Chromatography Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry.

Analytical protocols for the detection of trace-levels of THMs and other DBPs in treated water by liquid-liquid extraction, Gas Chromatography/Electron Capture Detection will also be developed. Using a selected few Scottish Water catchments and water treatment plants as case studies, the quantity and characteristics of organic matter in raw water will be related to THMs formation potentials. A decision making/management tool for effective DBPs control will be developed, including a knowledge base about DBPs and their respective health effects and a matrix of THM control strategies for different precursor quantities, types and Scottish water sources.

The successful candidate undergoes 6 months of basic training with 14 other Eng.-D students at Cranfield University before joining Scottish Water and Newcastle University.

As a STREAM Research Engineer you will acquire advanced technical skills through masters level training, develop the transferable skills competencies and engineering leadership qualities expected of senior engineers, and undertake doctoral level research with an industrial sponsor. You can also expect to graduate from the programme with the intellectual tools and interdisciplinary training to succeed in the global water career market.

Value of the Award and Eligibility
Stipend of £19,000 per annum in year 1 and 2, rising to £20,000 per annum in year 3 and 4.  See EPSRC eligibility criteria for full fees and stipend.

Person Specification
STREAM EngD studentships are intended for the future leaders of the global water industry. Successful candidates will be able to demonstrate that they are already high flyers and have the potential to exploit the opportunities to excel that a STREAM studentship provides. You are expected to have a first or upper second class Honours degree in a relevant scientific or engineering subject.

How to Apply
You must apply through the University's online postgraduate application form selecting 8811F as the programme of study.  Please ensure you include the studentship code CI-558, supervisor(s) name and Project Title in your application form.  Only mandatory fields need to be completed and a covering letter, CV and (if English is not your first language) a copy of your English language qualifications must be attached. The covering letter must also state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship code CI-558 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project.

Closing date for applications 
4pm Monday 30th April 2012

Further Information
For further details, please contact Dr David Werner on (0191) 222 5099. Email:



Newcastle University

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