Faculty of Engineering
   
   
  

EPSRC Thematic Doctoral Training Programme: Engineering Water Resilience

The Engineering Water Resilience (EWR) doctoral training programme will train a cohort of outstanding science and engineering doctoral students with world-class skills who combine engineering rigour with understanding of natural processes and ecosystem functions to manage water in all its forms and so deliver water sustainability and resiliently.

The EWR doctoral training programme will deliver water resilience through innovating new technologies and approaches that deliver solutions for intelligent management of multi-functional waters in smart cities and rural communities. Students will benefit from tailored training and research opportunities involving stakeholders spanning industries, charities and regulatory agencies. Students will know their PhD topic at the beginning of their studies, and cross-discipline supervised projects are listed below.

Urban Water Cycle
 

EWR students will be provided with an excellent training and collaborative environment within the University of Nottingham. Students will undertake tailored training, complemented by broadening, soft-skills, wet-lab (where appropriate) and student-led activities. There will also be opportunities for training and exchanges with world-leading partners and industry.

High-quality funded PhD opportunities

The programme will fund up to eight fully-funded 3.5 year PhD scholarships, to start in September 2017. Successful applicants will receive a stipend (£14,553 per annum for 2017/8) for up to 3.5 years, tuition fees and a Research Training Support Grant.

Fully funded studentships are available for UK applicants. EU applicants who can confirm they have been resident in the UK for a minimum of 3 years prior to the start date of the programme may be eligible for a full award, and may apply for a fees only award if they are not able to prove they satisfy the 3 years of residency criterion.

P1060072
 
Engineering Water Resilience DTP 1
Engineering Water Resilience DTP 3
Engineering Water Resilience DTP 2
 

Applications

To apply for a scholarship on the programme, please consult the project list below and:

  • Please apply by using the application form sending completed forms to pg-funding@nottingham.ac.uk. Applicants are also required to complete the Equal Opportunities Form
  • Referee forms and guidance notes for referees are also available
  • Completed applications and references should be submitted by noon GMT 20 June 2017. Further application deadlines will be announced in due course. Applications will remain open until the scholarships are filled
  • Applicants for the EWR doctoral programme should have at least a 2:1 degree in a Physical Sciences, Life Sciences or Engineering discipline

 

New applications image (EWR)

 

For queries in relation to a particular project, please contact the supervisors associated with that project, as below. For all other queries, please email Rachel Gomes on rachel.gomes@nottingham.ac.uk, with 'DTP EWR' as the subject heading.

Please be aware that scholarships are allocated on receipt of applications, so it is strongly advised that applications are submitted before the deadline.

Available projects

Assessing the ecosystem services of the UK gravel pit lakes

Supervisors

Summary

There are more than 500 working sand and gravel quarries in the UK, and numerous extinct workings which have been flooded to form gravel pit lakes. To date, the primary repurposing of gravel pit lakes has been for amenity and conservation. However, ex-mining sites, which are usually located on river floodplains, may be potentially important in providing capacity for floodwater retention. Gravel pit lakes also collect sediments and thus may have potential for sequestration of carbon and removal of toxic contaminants which could influence downstream sites. The importance of gravel pit basins in provision of these ecosystem services on a national scale is currently not well understood.

Aim

This project aims to quantify the role of gravel pit lake complexes in flood mitigation, carbon sequestration and pollutant removal across a range of UK sites to inform guidelines for ex-gravel pit management.

Scope

Flood mitigation potential will be evaluated by use of continuous hydrological monitoring instruments at flagship East Midlands site Attenborough Nature Reserve to determine impacts of gravel pits on hydrograph timing and magnitude. The sedimentation and collection of carbon and pollutants will be achieved by field investigation of a number of UK sites where sediment traps will be installed and sediments analysed for elemental composition to establish collection rates of carbon and toxins. The work will include collection of primary field data using a boat, analysis of secondary monitoring datasets from hydrological monitoring and a previous long-term monitoring study at Attenborough Nature Reserve. The project will be supported by Cemex (UK) who will facilitate access to sites and monitoring datasets.   

References

  • Cross ID, McGowan S, Needham T and Pointer CM (2014) The effects of hydrological extremes on former gravel pit lake ecology: management implications. Fundamental and Applied Limnology 185, 71-90 
  • Mollema, P.N. and Antonellini, M., 2016. Water and (bio) chemical cycling in gravel pit lakes: A review and outlook. Earth-Science Reviews, 159, pp.247-270.
  • Jones, M.D., Cuthbert, M.O., Leng, M.J., McGowan, S., Mariethoz, G., Arrowsmith, C., Sloane, H.J., Humphrey, K.K. and Cross, I., 2016. Comparisons of observed and modelled lake δ 18 O variability. Quaternary Science Reviews, 131, pp.329-340.
  • McGowan S, Anderson NJ, Edwards ME, Langdon PG, Jones VJ, van Hardenbroek M, Whiteford E, Wiik E (2015) Long-term perspectives on terrestrial and aquatic carbon cycling from palaeolimnology. WIRES-Water 3, 211-234
 

Brew-sense – Multiuse sensors for reduced water utilisation in craft brewing

Supervisors

  • Dr Nicholas Watson (Fluid and Thermal Engineering Research Group, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Nottingham)
  • Dr Chris Powel (Brewing Science Research Group, School of Biosciences, The University of Nottingham)

Summary

Craft brewing is a growing sector within the UK with currently 1,400 operating breweries (CAMRA 2016). This number of breweries makes it a large user of resources such as water and energy, with approximately seven litres of water required to produce one litre of beer (Brewers Association 2011). The additional water which does not make it into the beer is used for key aspects of brewing, such as temperature control and cleaning.

Many of these small-scale brewing processes have not changed for over 30 years and are highly variable and inefficient with sub-optimal resource utilisation. To reduce water use and minimise waste within craft brewing there is a need for technologies which are low-cost and do not require specialist technical skills to operate effectively.

Process analytical technologies such as non-invasive ultrasonic sensors have demonstrated the capability to monitor and optimise processes such as fermentation and cleaning. This is achieved by their ability to measure individual phase concentrations within multicomponent systems and to detect the degree of surface fouling within equipment such as fermenters.

Although Ultrasonic instruments are not the most expensive technology available their cost may be prohibitive if they can only be used to optimise a single stage of the brewing process. However, if the same sensor could be portable and used to optimise numerous stages of the process in an easy to use manner their benefits to craft brewers and the environment would be large.

Aim

The aim of this project is to develop user friendly multiuse ultrasonic sensor techniques to reduce water use in craft brewing.

Scope

This project will develop multiuse ultrasonic sensors and associated signals and data processing methods to optimise multiple stages of the craft brewing process. The particular processes will include boiling, fermentation, cleaning and carbonation (if required). The data processing will involve using in process measurements to calculate systems properties and develop prediction engines utilising regression algorithms to determine the optimal endpoint for different stages of brewing. How individual sensors can be used for multiple applications and how these can be operated by workers with limited expertise of measurement technologies will be studied. This project will quantify the water reductions achieved by the developed technology. 

References

  • A SIMEONE, N WATSON, I STERRITT and E WOOLLEY, 2016. A multi-sensor approach for fouling level assessment in clean-in-place processes In: 5th CIRP Global Web Conference - Research and Innovation for Future Production (CIRPe 2016). 55. 134-139
  • This project will operate in conjunctions with the EPSRC funded Network+ Industrial Systems in a Digital Age feasibility Project BREWNET
 

Constructed reedbeds for wastewater treatment: metal contamination and community ecology

Supervisors

  • Dr Tom Reader (Genetics, Ecology and Evolution, School of Life Sciences, The University of Nottingham)
  • Dr Rachel Gomes (Bioprocess, Environmental and Chemical Technologies, The University of Nottingham)
  • Dr Scott Young (Environmental Science, School of Biosciences, The University of Nottingham) 
  • Dr Liz Bailey (Environmental Science, School of Biosciences, The University of Nottingham)

Summary

Artificial wetlands known as “constructed reedbeds” are commonly used to treat domestic and industrial wastewater. There are thousands of these reedbeds across the UK, and our recent work suggests that they make a substantial contribution to wetland biodiversity. But little is known about the long-term ecological consequences of their use in the treatment of water which is contaminated with a variety of organic and inorganic pollutants.

Aim

The aim of this project is to explore some of those consequences by examining the dynamics of trace metal contaminants in ageing constructed reedbeds. We will assess the reactivity and bioavailability of metals, using isotopic exchangeability measurements and other approaches, up the food chain, from sediments and reed rhizomes to insect herbivores and small mammal predators.

An additional aim will be to examine a range of different types of site to test the effect of reedbed design on the diversity of the ecological community, and the dynamics of pollutants within that community.

Scope

The project will involve a combination of ecological field sampling, soil geochemistry, and mathematical modelling of contaminant transfer and will offer significant training opportunities within those fields. However, we would also expect a successful applicant to play a significant role in determining the direction in which the project develops.

Ultimately, our objectives are to help the constructed reedbed industry predict the ecological outcomes of reed-bed design and longer term wetland management strategies in order to maximise biodiversity and minimise costs. 

References

The most relevant recent work is a PhD thesis by Marie Athorn (supervisor: Tom Reader) examining the conservation value of constructed wetlands (publications pending). 

See also:

  • Mossa, A-W., Dickinson, M.J., West, H.M., Young, S.D. and Crout, N.M.J. 2017. The response of soil microbial diversity and abundance to long-term application of biosolids. Environmental Pollution 224, 16 – 25. 
  • Mwesigye, A.R., Young, S.D., Bailey, E.H. and Tumwebaze, S.B. 2016. Population exposure to trace elements in the Kilembe Copper mine area, Western Uganda.  Science of the Total Environment 573, 366 – 375.
  • Garforth, J.M., Bailey, E.H., Tye, A.M., Young, S.D. and Lofts, S. 2016. Using isotopic dilution to assess chemical extraction of labile Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb in soils. Chemosphere 155, 534 – 541.
 

Designing appropriate Aquaponic Systems for Off-Grid Communities

Supervisors

  • Dr Mike Clifford (Environment, People and Design Research Group, The University of Nottingham) 
  • Dr Helen West (School of Biosciences, The University of Nottingham)

Summary

This research will consider the design, construction, acceptability and maintenance of aquaponics systems for off-grid communities both in the UK and in less economically developed countries (LEDCs) along with the development of low-cost, appropriate, water quality test methods.

With high rates of malnutrition in many LEDCs, there is a need for an appropriate solution that utilises land and water resources more efficiently to improve availability and accessibility of food. Hydroponics is an agricultural technology where plants are grown in a soilless culture and are fed a nutrient solution made to cater for plant needs.

Aquaponics combines traditional hydroponics with aquaculture, using fish waste as the source of the nutrients supplied to the plants.Aquaponic systems have an additional need for a filtration unit to process waste water from fish to provide ideal nutrients for the plant. Due to the differing needs of fish and plants aquaponic systems are hard to optimize for both fish and plants.

Aim and Scope

This research will consider the design, construction, acceptability and maintenance of aquaponic systems by characterizing flow behaviour within low-cost filtration systems along with the ability of these systems to remove suspended solid matter, bacterial and other pollutants.

With the need that technology is appropriate for use in LEDCs as well as off-grid communities in the UK, the systems must be designed to meet criteria including performance, removal of bacteria, nitrogen compounds and other chemicals, measuring water quality, cost, availability of materials and simplicity of construction/operation.

 

Developing sustainable Advanced Materials for water treatment applications

Supervisors

  • Dr Ifty Ahmed (Advanced Materials, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Nottingham)
  • Dr Rachel Gomes (Bioprocess, Environmental and Chemical Technologies, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Nottingham)

Summary

Large amounts of micro-pollutants, such as drugs/medicines, disinfectants, laundry detergents, pesticides, metals, antibiotic-resistant organisms and other organic contaminants have all been released into water stream, threatening human health and the environment. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), waterborne diseases are the world’s leading killer, claiming over 3.4 million lives each year. 

Activated carbon (AC) is a well-known commercial material which has been effectively used as an adsorbent for the removal of a wide variety of organic and inorganic pollutants found in water. AC has also widely been used as an adsorbent in the purification of drinking water due to its ability to remove contaminants. However, AC is prepared from a variety of carbonaceous precursors, including coal, peat and coconut shells which are then carbonised and “activated” either by oxidisation with CO2 or steam (utilising high temperatures within specially designed activation kilns). Alternate methods involve chemical activation which requires large quantities of acid at lower temperatures, or by treatment with acids, bases or other chemicals. However, use of fossil fuel sources is simply unsustainable.

To address the challenge of moving from (or reducing) use of non-sustainable fossil fuel sources for water treatment, calls for a shift from use of conventional carbon materials towards more reusable ‘sustainable advanced materials’, which do not require the mining or digging of non-renewable fossil fuel resources. Therefore, the engineering and scientific challenges in this project will be to demonstrate manufacture of porous glass microspheres from low-cost sustainable glass materials.

Aim

This research project will address wastewater treatment challenges utilising a newly developed porous inorganic glass microsphere technology, and will investigate separating micro-pollutants (organics, heavy metals and bacteria) from varying wastewater streams. 

Scope

This project will seek to understand and establish a scientific theory behind the manufacturing process developed for fabrication of porous inorganic microspheres and to investigate replicating the porosity requirements for micro-pollutant separation from wastewater streams.

Moreover, these porous glass microspheres have the potential to be utilised as a ‘sustainable manufacturing’ process as after separation of non-useful organic / inorganic matter, they could be re-melted back into glass form and re-manufactured into porous microspheres for re-use, thereby achieving  the 3Rs mantra of Reduce, Recycle and Re-use.

 

Forecasting morphological responses in Rivers subjects to Climate and Environmental Change

Supervisors

Summary

Rivers fulfil multiple functions including flood control, land drainage, water supply and navigation while the ecological services that rivers provide are vital to both wildlife and society. However, disturbance by extreme events or changes in the flow and sediment regimes can adversely impact river functions and ecosystems.

In this studentship, a new approach that can explain river response as needed to inform future river management will be developed. This will use a hybrid approach that synthesizes our capacity to quantify non-stationary temporal and spatial distributions of flows and sediment loads with our understanding of typical responses, and sequences of responses, in channel morphology. Modelling will be performed within the contexts of a range of plausible climate and environmental futures.

The student will develop the existing POTAMOD model to explore how river channel adjustments that occur in response to hydroclimatic and environmental change can be forecast at the spatial scale of the catchment and over temporal scales ranging from decades to centuries. The student will join a collaborative team of river scientists and engineers based at the Universities of Nottingham, Portsmouth and St Louis, USA.

Issues that the student could choose to address in their doctoral work include: researching the influences of operational aspects of model set-up (for example, time-step and reach-length) on the performance of the computational module of the new, hybrid model; accounting in the analytical module for differences between the dynamics of the bed material and wash load components of the total sediment load and their impacts in driving morphological adjustments at the reach and system-scales; potential for using neural networks and machine-learning in the rules-based module of the hybrid model, to better simulate morphological adjustments at the reach and system-scales; development of a Graphic User Interface (GUI) appropriate to communicating the outcomes of the new, hybrid model to end-users who are not themselves river modellers.

Candidates for this studentship should have a BSc degree in Geography, Geology, GeoScience, Earth or Environmental Science, or Engineering.  Some familiarity with the application of computational methods in analysing earth and environmental systems would be an advantage.

References

 

Reefs of Rubbish: Understanding the role of litter in streams to inform sustainable management of urban infrastructure

Supervisors

Summary

Anthropogenic waste in the environment is a major ecological, safety and social issue. Litter is ubiquitous in most urban rivers with significant implications for the conveyance of water, sediment and other debris through channels. In addition, it can have detrimental impacts on water quality as it degrades or leaks, generating microplastics and other ecologically harmful substances. Litter is also unsightly and can negatively impact community feeling towards water courses, which can lead to further littering and a lack of engagement with future management.

Given the pervasive nature of the litter problem, increasing urbanisation, and a changing climate, litter has important implications for the resilience of urban communities to flooding, and the resilience of urban stream ecosystems to continued anthropogenic impact. 

Litter is deeply integrated into the fabric of urban streams but its role is not well understood. For example, bricks, masonry and ceramics can contribute a large proportion of substrate material with implications for sediment functioning, and large litter can generate scour and deposition, increasing habitat heterogeneity. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in many urban streams and canals, litter provides important habitat for many organisms. Therefore, the relationship between anthropogenic waste, fluvial processes and ecological systems is complex and urgently need to be untangled in order to successfully maintain and restore resilient, ecological healthy urban environments. 

Aim and Scope

This project will focus on how litter effects the hydrology and geomorphology of urban streams with the aim of informing future management.

In particular, the project will include consideration of:

  1. the impact of litter on channel capacity and the conveyance of water;
  2. the impacts of anthropogenic waste on habitat heterogeneity and functioning;
  3. the presence and source of smaller anthropogenic particles such as microplastics, which can result from the degradation of waste materials, and;
  4. to use the acquired knowledge to inform the management of urban waterways to increase resilience to environmental hazards, whilst also maximising the habitat potential of urban streams, helping to meet our obligations to improve fluvial ecosystems.
 

The impacts of dam construction on sediment and nutrient transport in the Red River, Vietnam

Supervisors

Summary

The Red River in Vietnam supports 20 million inhabitants, includes a major rice-growing region, the mega-city of Hanoi and a range of industries each of which have expanded in recent decades.

The Red River Delta (RRD) area of the river is the agricultural heartland of the region and provides crucial ecosystem services, including the retention and removal of nutrients and pollutants for groundwater (drinking water) and marine resource protection, carbon processing and flood protection. However, the construction of Hoa Binh dam (in 1988) was pivotal in influencing stream-flow and suspended sediment (SS) transport in the RRD, threatening these ecosystem services and the health and wellbeing of the people.

Downstream of the dam near Hanoi, mean discharge has reduced concurrent with reduced SS transport, which together with sea level rise has contributed to an increased risk of saline water intrusion in the RRD. 

Aim

This PhD project aims to understand how dam installation and reservoir construction has altered macro-nutrient (phosphate [P], nitrate[N] and silicate[Si]) and SS load delivery to the RRD. The hypothesis is that construction of the Hoa Binh dam reservoir has reduced SS delivery downstream, and altered the quantity and balance of macronutrients in river waters via reservoir nutrient processing.

The project aim is to better inform reservoir management, under increased downstream water resource demand and regional climate change. 

Scope

Via the collection and dating of Hoa Binh reservoir sediment cores (210Pb, 137Cs), this project will quantify changes in sediment accumulation rate since dam construction. Particle size analyses, sediment elemental analyses (ICP-MS), algal pigment biomarkers, biogenic silica quantification (alkaline digestion) and stable isotope approaches (13C, 15N and C/N) will also be applied to reconstruct alterations in nutrient biogeochemical cycling and N:P:Si stoichiometry.

The installation of sediment traps will further constrain seasonal variations in sedimentation rates (allocthonous versus autochthonous), nutrient uptake and algal productivity. Together, these approaches will permit the reconstruction of sediment and nutrient retention in Hoa Binh reservoir (since 1988) and estimate downstream delivery impacts to the RRD over time. This project provides the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in Vietnam and learn key analytical principles via co-supervision at BGS.

References

This PhD project will run alongside a 3-year Newton Fund project funded by NERC and NAFOSTED (the Vietnamese research council), which commenced 1st May 2017.

The student will have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork in Vietnam, during the course of their PhD, work as part of an international research team, and collaborate with a Vietnamese PhD student working on this project at Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), Hanoi.

 

Ultra Clean: Intelligent ultrasonic techniques to minimise water usage in industrial cleaning processes

Supervisors

  • Dr Nicholas Watson (Fluids and Thermal Engineering Research Group, The Faculty of Engineering, the University of Nottingham)
  • Georgios Dimitrakis (Microwave Process Engineering Research Group, The Faculty of Engineering, the University of Nottingham)

Summary

Food and Drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector and one of the greatest industrial users of water (typically 430 Mega Litres per day). Water is used in many stages of food production but approximately one third of all water is used for cleaning of equipment. This cleaning is performed to remove any product which adheres to the walls of pipes, vessels or equipment during production. The majority of cleaning is performed using an automated Clean-in-Place (CIP) system which does not required any dismantling or opening or equipment.

There are approximately 1,000 CIP equipped sites in the UK alone. CIP is a safety critical stage of food manufacturing which is why most equipment is over cleaned to prevent cross contamination of allergens or other health risks. This over-cleaning comes at a cost with undesirable equipment downtime and wasted water, energy and cleaning chemicals.

There is an industry requirement for technologies that can:

  1. Reduce the fouling of equipment during food manufacturing
  2. Monitor the fouling level in process equipment to optimise the cleaning schedule and the actual cleaning process.AimThe aim of this project is to develop two complimentary ultrasonic techniques to reduce water usage during the automated cleaning of food manufacturing equipment

Aim

The aim of this project is to develop two complimentary ultrasonic techniques to reduce water usage during the automated cleaning of food manufacturing equipment.

Scope

This project will develop two ultrasonic techniques. The first technique will study an active ultrasonic method to reduce fouling by applying low amplitude oscillations to pipe sections. These oscillations will reduce product adherence to the equipment surfaces.

The second technique will be an ultrasonic imaging method to monitor internal pipe surface fouling during the manufacturing and subsequent cleaning stages of food production.

The final stage of the project will investigate the potential of combining these two techniques into a single system. This will use the ultrasonic fouling level measurements to autonomously optimise the active ultrasonic process. The effect this optimisation has on technology efficiency and associated resource savings will be studied.  

References

  • A SIMEONE, N WATSON, I STERRITT and E WOOLLEY, 2016. A multi-sensor approach for fouling level assessment in clean-in-place processes In: 5th CIRP Global Web Conference - Research and Innovation for Future Production (CIRPe 2016). 55. 134-139
  • This project will work collaboratively with Martec of Whitwell who are developing the SOCIP technology with the University of Nottingham and Loughborough University
 

Water Generation through the dynamic melting of ice mixtures

Supervisors

  • Barbara Turnbull (Geohazards and Earth Processes Research Group, The University of Nottingham)
  • Michael Swift (Granular Dynamics Group, School of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Nottingham)

Summary

In alpine environments, water for communities depends upon how much can be recovered from melting snow and ice in the spring and also on the reliability of water sources. This can be difficult to predict or protect within the typically dynamic terrain.

Receding glaciers or rock faces tenuously held together by melting permafrost can fail, generating complex `debris flows’. These can transport large boulders, sediments, and water large distances, interfering with watercourses. Thus, there is interest in understanding how ice and snow effect debris flows in which they may be just a small component.

Aim and Scope

This project grows from previous work investigating how granular flows of ice, created by e.g. collapsing glaciers or permafrost slopes, melt as they move, changing their behaviour and mobility. The work will be largely experimental, manufacturing idealised granular ice to tumble in a drum or shake on a loudspeaker. Changes to ice behaviour will be tracked using high-speed imaging. The student will investigate the role of impurities and non-melting components in these systems, expanding current scaling analyses to explain these and developing the instrumentation to track e.g. even very small water content changes, directly.

The student will complement this experimental programme with Discrete Element Method modelling. The process of developing and validating modelling methods against experimental data can allow for the results from the prototype system be extrapolated to the larger, real, system.

References

  • B. Turnbull (2011) Scaling laws for melting ice avalanches, Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 258001
  • C.P. Clement, H.A. Pacheco-Martinez, M.R. Swift (2010) The water-enhanced Brazil nut effect, Euro-Phys. Lett. 91(5) 54001
  • D.J. Scheeres, C.M. Hartzell, P. Sanchez and M.R. Swift (2010) Scaling forces to asteroid surfaces: the role of cohesion Icarus 210(2), 968—984
 

Water resilience while preventing food spoilage: Electrolysed water

Supervisors

Summary

Electrolysed water (EW) technology has powerful antimicrobial efficacy against food spoilers and pathogens. Washes with EW extend food shelf life significantly, so could be a key future technology for safeguarding food security. Importantly, EW achieves this while using 75% less water via recirculation, and less energy. Therefore, developing this technology will improve water resilience.

Our industrial partners OZO Innovations use a patented flow cell technology to make EW in-situ, from simple food-approved salts and water. These solutions can kill 99.99% of microbes on food surfaces in ˂30 seconds with no taint or problematic residue levels. Our existing collaboration with OZO Innovations, through a Newton/Innovate-UK project (2017-2019), focuses on development of the EW technology for preventing post-harvest spoilage of Indian produce. This PhD research will complement that work.

Aim

This project will address two specific challenges concerning EW solutions: 

  1. How do variations in EW solution chemistry and target-material affect efficacy of microbial kill and disinfection by-products? 
  2. Informed by results from (1), what engineering solutions may be developed to minimise release of harmful by-products in the run-off, improving the system’s water resilience?

Scope

The student will benefit from a multidisciplinary supervision team offering a cutting-edge training experience. Simon Avery and Ian Singleton are current collaborators with OZO Innovations and have expertise in mechanisms of antimicrobial action (including oxy-radical related), and meta-genomic analysis of microbial communities on foods.

Oxy-radicals are primary active agents in EW and Frankie Rawson is an expert in electrochemical sensors to detect and distinguish radical species. Rachel Gomes has expertise in engineering solutions for remediating waste water contaminants; whereas EW disinfects microbial contaminants cleanly, food produce commonly has associated soil and other environmental residues, creating a by-product burden for EW run-off. Industrial supervisor Ben Retamal completes the supervisory team.

The overall objective will be to understand how water resilience of this innovative EW technology may be further improved in tandem with these solutions’ powerful antimicrobial efficacy. Given the anticipated growth in food-industry take up, this project will help guide that technology development to meet the dual challenges of sustaining food security and water resilience.

 

Water Supply Chain Risk: Measurement and Management

Supervisors

  • Professor Kulwant Pawar (The Business School, The University of Nottingham) 
  • Dr Christos Braziotis (The Business School, The University of Nottingham)  
  • Professor Helen Rogers (Nuremberg Technical University, Germany) 

Summary

The Supply Chain (SC) consists of both activities and relationships that connect organisations to effectively add value to the offering to the final customer (Braziotis et al., 2013). The SC performance and effectiveness may suffer from unforeseen disruptive events unless its structures, strategies and operational dimensions are designed to mitigate potential disruptions or uncertainties. Further, several disturbance factors need to be considered, relevant to both uncertainties and risk, and mitigation strategies need to be developed to effectively calibrate the SC configuration (Huq et al., 2016).

Water Supply Chain Risk (WSCR) Management needs to be explicitly designed and developed against a backdrop of increased globalisation, natural disasters, competitive context, technological innovation, evolving government policies, potential supplier failure etc. There are several factors that have been identified to affect the water SC, these include environmental impact, operational efficiency, risk assessment, communicating to stakeholders, sustainable manufacturing, product eco-design, supplier involvement, process standardization, communities’ engagement and information sharing.

Aim and Scope

The PhD research will aim to develop empirically-based comparative studies on an international basis of the Beverages and Pharmaceutical industries, providing the foundations for the development of a set of comprehensive WSCR measurement and management methods, tools and strategies to support the key decision-makers.

The PhD research will broadly be divided into four phases, to achieve a set of objectives:

  • Phase 1 – State of WSCR Knowledge: Literature review of WSCR management leading to a thorough classification of the state of the art.
  • Phase 2 – WSCR Conceptualisation: Development of model to encapsulate key requirements for measuring water foot print within the SC context and to understand their relationships, and development of hypotheses. In-depth interviews for refinement of the model and appropriate concepts and items.
  • Phase 3 – Research and Analysis A: Large scale online questionnaire survey indicating differing requirements by industry and company characteristics.
  • Phase 4 – Research and Analysis B: In-depth interviews with managers to gain further insights (the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’) and determine key metrics for the development of strategies for effective WSCR implementation.The outcomes of the research will be disseminated in high-ranking academic journals and premier international conferences.

References

  • Braziotis, C., Bourlakis, M., Rogers, H. and Tannock, J. (2013), “Supply chains and supply networks: distinctions and overlaps”, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 644–652
  • Huq, F., Pawar, K.S. and Rogers, H. (2016), “Supply chain configuration conundrum: how does the pharmaceutical industry mitigate disturbance factors?”, Production Planning & Control, Vol. 27 No. 14, pp. 1206–1220
 

 

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