Postgraduate research opportunities

Water metabolism in cities: towards a deeper understanding of the lifecycle of drinking water in the urbanocene

The study will focus on the current and future challenges of drinking water metabolism in cities to effectively respond in sustainable operational approaches and to support human well-being in urban environments.

Number of places



14 May 2020


3 years


Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a high 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant Engineering/science discipline, and must be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research. 

Knowledge of statistics, big data and network theory is desirable.

Project Details

The urbanization trend is an undeniable fact worldwide in large and small cities.  The urban conglomeration is continuously evolving as an organic entity that metabolizes energy, food and water into economic growth and waste. The urban sprawling demands the allocation of vast amount of natural resources in cities to sustain the livelihoods of its dwellers.

The urban development planning must move from linear to circular metabolism, including circular flows of water. This research will assess the affordability of cities to meet the current and forthcoming, environmental, technical and economic hurdles of 21st century towards efficient water management. It will assess the sources of drinking water, its distribution, the consumption patterns, the wastewater generated and its reclamation. This research will also touch upon the scale factor, namely how the size of the city affects the drinking water metabolism. Cities continuously draw surface and groundwater sources to ensure sufficient and good quality of drinking water for the inhabitants independently of their size. However, scale affects all aspects of urban life, from the length of pipelines to intellectual production. Moreover, the study will assess five different types of urban models to better capture the water metabolism at large. Namely the following urban models will be assessed a) new cities with rapid urbanization b) old cities with existent aged network c) water scarce cities with difficulty to access water sources d) hazard prone cities with high vulnerability on water-risk problems e) water sufficient cities, which however take measures on securitization of water resources.

This study will be conducted in cooperation with the International Water Association.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Funding Details

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. However, excellent candidates will be considered for a University scholarship.



Primary supervisor - Dr Vassilis Inglezakis

External supervisor - Stefanos Xenarios, Visiting Associate Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Contact us

Miss Ewa Kosciuk

+44(0) 141 548 2835

James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow, G1 1XJ

How to apply

Apply for this project here – please quote the project title in your application.

During the application you'll be asked for the following information and evidence uploaded to the application:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if you are not from a majority English-speaking country as recognised by UKVI
  • two references, one of which must be academic. Please see our guidance on referees
  • funding or scholarship information
  • international students must declare any previous UK study

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.

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