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

Risk assessment of bridges under flood and earthquake hazards


Deadline:20 September 2019 Opens:5 March 2019

The proposed research project aims at developing a probabilistic framework for assessing the risk of bridges exposed to flood and earthquake occurrences during their design life time, with particular focus on the damage accumulation under multiple events.

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 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

Risk assessment of bridges under flood and earthquake hazards

The proposed research project aims at developing a probabilistic framework for monitoring and assessing the risk of bridges exposed to multiple flood and earthquake occurrences during their design life time. The development of this framework will require advancement on the description of the sources of hazards.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

Opens

5 March 2019

Deadline

20 September 2019

Duration

3 years

Eligibility

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent, in Civil Engineering or a relevant subject. Preference will be given to candidates with educational and/or research experience in Structural Engineering, Earthquake Engineering, and River Hydraulics. Experience conducting both numerical and experimental/field test research would be an advantage, but is not essential. The candidate will be expected to conduct work with international academic partners and should have good interpersonal skills.

An overall score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required, with individual scores of 6.0 in each of the four sub-skills: writing, reading, speaking and listening.

Eligibility for RCUK studentships

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.
  • EU students are only eligible for RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.
  • If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

Project Details

The research will require the development of advanced models for describing the sources of hazards (namely earthquakes and floods) as well as the structural vulnerability under multiple events with different intensity. Extensive numerical analyses of the behaviour of bridges and buildings are also envisaged, requiring the use of state-of-the-art finite element programmes such as OpenSees and Abaqus, and of probabilistic methodologies for the propagation of the uncertainties inherent to the hazard and the structural models.

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Geophysical assessment of Lime/Clay grout injection of estuary and reservoir embankments subject to badgers burrows erosion

According to studies, 46 % of dams and embankments failures are due to severe internal erosion (Foster et al., 2000). Animal burrowing can lead to a preferential path for the water flow and seepage through the flood embankments that could lead to a partial or total collapse of the structure. Geophysical survey can prov

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

Opens

15 March 2019

Deadline

1 October 2019

Duration

3 years.

Eligibility

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent, in Civil Engineering or a relevant subject. Experience conducting both numerical and experimental/field test research would be an advantage, but is not essential. The candidate will be expected to conduct work with international academic partners and should have good interpersonal skills.

An overall score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required, with individual scores of 6.0 in each of the four sub-skills: writing, reading, speaking and listening.

Eligibility for RCUK studentships

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.
  • EU students are only eligible for RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.
  • If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

Project Details

General Aims:

To inform the risk of badgers burrows network based on Geophysical conductivity/saturation mapping of river, estuary and reservoir embankment slopes.

To assess the efficiency and completion of repair grouts injections inside the badgers setts.

Specific Objectives:

  • To establish a map of the burrows network inside embankments slopes at different depths (0.5m increments) covering the common thickness of transitional landslides and embankments slope slip surface and landward face failure after overtopping or seepage.
  • To identify the zones at risk based on conductivity/saturation levels compared with local point measurements (Geotechnical)
  • To use Electrical Resistivity Tomography Inversion and Ground Penetrating Radar to refine the conductivity model of the sub-layers of soil from the CMD mini-explorer results
  • To provide a risk evaluation map based on Geophysical and Geotechnical existing sensors data and slope stability softwares (Geoslope etc…)
  • For the methodology to be adopted by companies like Atkins and Mott Mac Donald and by the Environment Agency for reservoir safety and river embankments integrity long term monitoring.

Funding Details

Co Funded LHOIS Belgium and the Environment Agency UK (time in kind) + French academic collaborator EOST (School of Geophysics) and LMDC INSA Toulouse France.