Civil & Environmental Engineering postgraduate research opportunities

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Advanced BioMaterials for Construction and Civil Engineering


Opens:6 September 2017

This PhD will explore how bacterially generated materials can be modified by incorporation of polymers and nanoparticles to enhance their mechanical properties. In this way, bacterially generated materials could be modified for specific tasks, such as earthquake and weather resistance.

Fee status

Home (Scottish), EU, Rest of UK, International, The Channels Islands and Isle of Man

Subject

Civil and environmental engineering, Mechanical and aerospace engineering, Chemistry, Pharmacy and biomedical sciences

Mode of Study

Full Time

Funding

bio-deterioration of concrete and conservation of architectural heritage


Opens:18 October 2017

Bio-deterioration of concrete strongly affects much of our built heritage and is particularly notable in wet territories like the UK or South East Asia. How to effectively solve bio-deterioration of concrete sculptures and buildings is an environmental, societal and scientific challenge.

Fee status

Home (Scottish), EU, Rest of UK, The Channels Islands and Isle of Man

Subject

Civil and environmental engineering, Chemistry

Mode of Study

Full Time

Funding

Development and modelling of innovative devices for the seismic protection of non-structural components in buildings


Deadline:1 March 2019 Opens:25 July 2018

The aim of the project is to investigate innovative techniques for protecting non-structural components from earthquakes while enhancing the seismic performance of buildings. In particular, the effectiveness of specially shaped rubber joints in the construction of masonry infill walls.

Fee status

Home (Scottish), EU, Rest of UK, The Channels Islands and Isle of Man

Subject

Civil and environmental engineering

Mode of Study

Full Time

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

The hydraulic control of the rhizosphere on rainfall-induced fast-moving shallow landslides


Deadline:1 January 2019 Opens:20 September 2018

Project aims at i) investigating quantitatively the role of the rhizosphere in controlling slope hydrology and, hence, slope instability and ii) propose and demonstrate a remedial measure for the Rest and Be Thankful slopes based on the use of vegetation to ‘engineer’ the rhizosphere

Fee status

Home (Scottish), EU, Rest of UK

Subject

Civil and environmental engineering

Mode of Study

Full Time

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

A pioneering investigation into the particle-scale origin of strength and stiffness of clayey geomaterials


Deadline:1 January 2019 Opens:20 September 2018

In the proposed project new experimental avenues for monitoring and material manipulation at the small scale will be explored to enable monitoring the evolving response of fine-grained materials across the scales.

Fee status

Home (Scottish), EU, Rest of UK

Subject

Civil and environmental engineering

Mode of Study

Full Time

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

The James Hutton Institute logoDetermining the Effect of Urbanization on the Prevalence of Antimicrobial Resistance in Aquatic Environments

The threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest challenges to society today. Control of AMR in the environment is critical to mitigating the global AMR threat. This project aims to combine lab studies, risk-based modelling and environmental monitoring of Scottish rivers.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

Opens

12 November 2018

Deadline

4 January 2019

Duration

3.5 years

Eligibility

The studentship is funded under the James Hutton Institute/University Joint PhD programme, in this case with the University of Strathclyde, for a 3.5 year study period. Applicants should have a first-class honours degree in a relevant subject or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or equivalent).Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in Jan/Feb 2019. A more detailed plan of the studentship is available to candidates upon application. Funding is available for European applications, but Worldwide applicants who possess suitable self-funding are also invited to apply.

Project Details

Background: The threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest challenges to society today. In the EU, ~25,000 patients die annually from an infection with drug-resistant bacteria, resulting in estimated losses of at least EUR 1.5 billion. Control of AMR in the environment is critical to mitigating the global AMR threat, however, there is a lack of research in this area. This project aims to close this knowledge gap by combining lab studies, risk-based modelling and environmental monitoring of Scottish rivers. Scotland’s surface waters are under increased pressure from urbanisation. Chemicals from the household, clinical and industrial environments disperse into water bodies due to multiple anthropogenic activities. Such chemicals can exacerbate the problem of AMR by increasing multi-drug resistance either by co-resistance (co-inherited genes via horizontal gene transfer) or cross-resistance (where expression of one resistance simultaneously expresses another). However, enrichment and dispersion of AMR in the presence of anthropogenic stressors compared to other (innate) environmental aspects of AMR, remains largely unknown. Stressful conditions provide a competitive advantage to populations with resistance traits. However, it may be possible to reduce AMR load by improvements in water quality (e.g. reduced stress/pollution; ecological factors), but this has not yet been explicitly tested. 
Aims and Objectives: To determine the effect of pollutants resulting from urbanisation on AMR gene transport, fate and prevalence in surface waters, and to investigate conditions and stressors that promote either AMR persistence or disappearance. This will be achieved through the following objectives: 
1. Conduct microcosm experiments to investigate the fate of selected AMR genes over time under different receiving water conditions, including the extent to which AMR genes released into the water column migrate to peripheral biofilms and sediment in water compartments. 
2. Use risk-based modelling to identify the key risk factors for AMR persistence in urban-impacted water courses. 3. Environmental monitoring of the River Dee to verify the model. 
Methods: This project will build on pre-existing work being carried out at the University of Strathclyde and the James Hutton Institute. It will involve a combination of lab-based techniques (microcosm experiments, molecular techniques including qPCR and Illumina sequencing, cultivation work), fieldwork and risk modelling. 
Training: This project will involve using the most up-to-date techniques in environmental microbiology research, which includes DNA-based methods such as Illumina sequencing and high throughput QPCR. However, the student will also gain skills in traditional microbiological methods through the use of microcosms. Skills in risk-based modelling, computer analysis of large datasets (quality control, identification of sequences, and quantification of AMR genes) and statistical modelling will be gained. The student will also conduct fieldwork in the River Dee, thereby developing skills in communication, management, organization and risk assessment. These skills will provide a strong basis for careers in Environmental Microbiology, Microbiology, Ecology, Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics or Risk Modelling. Moreover, the student will be able to gain access to the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development via their affiliation with the University of Strathclyde (www.strath.ac.uk/rdp/pgrcredits/). This will provide training in transferable skills for research and engagement, thereby aiming to differentiate Strathclyde doctoral graduates. 

Funding Details

The studentship is funded under the James Hutton Institute/University Joint PhD programme, in this case with the University of Strathclyde, for a 3.5 year study period. Applicants should have a first-class honours degree in a relevant subject or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or equivalent).Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in Jan/Feb 2019. A more detailed plan of the studentship is available to candidates upon application. Funding is available for European applications, but Worldwide applicants who possess suitable self-funding are also invited to apply.

Further information

Further Information can be found at FindAPhD

How to apply

Enquiries can be made via FindAPhD