PhD Studentship in Multi-scale water resources planning in England and Wales

Value of award

Full UK/EU fees (eligibility criteria applies to EU students) and annual living allowance of at least £19,000 (standard UKRI rate PLUS industrial top up)

Number of awards


Start date and duration

September 2020: 4 year studentship

Application closing date

17:00 Friday 31 July 2020


Water resources are under unprecedented pressure as Great Britain is projected to be in deficit by up to 16% of the total demand in the 2050s. As part of the new National Framework for Water Resources, this project will look at the best options for meeting this challenge within the Water Resources West region by optimal use of water abstractions, storage and transfers. This is a particularly challenging task as this region crosses a national border (with Wales) as well as catchment boundaries. New multi-criteria decision making methods are therefore sought to satisfy the requirements at scales from individual catchments through water resource zones to multi-national, and across a wide range of sectors.

These require the student to engage potentially across diverse topics such as climate change, aquatic ecology, fluvial geomorphology, surface and groundwater hydrology, water infrastructure engineering and economics. There are currently no established industry methods for this in the UK so the student will work alongside Water Resources West and its members to evaluate the approach used. The candidate will review the literature to identify different methods for multi-scale decision making, conduct trials of these for water resources planning and potentially develop new methods which may utilise fuzzy logic, compromise programming, game theory or stochastic systems modelling.

The wide range of the project suggests that candidates from a number of backgrounds may be suitable including but not limited to engineering, natural sciences, mathematics or computing.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and United Utilities

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Richard Blackwell (Water Resources West)  & Professor Chris Kilsby (Newcastle University)

Eligibility Criteria

First or upper second class degree (2:1) and preferably a MSc in a relevant subject.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system.

You will need to:

You should also send your covering letter and CV to

Contact (Academic Supervisor) or (WIRe CDT Manager)

Eligible Courses