PhD Studentship: Engineering biological wastewater treatment for the removal of hazardous chemicals

Award type: PhD

Application deadline: 27th January 2014

Start date: As soon as possible

Duration of award: 3 years

Funded EPSRC Industrial Case and UKWIR, this studentship will cover the tuition fees at the UK/EU rate only and provide a bursary of up to £20,000 p.a for 3 years*

Supervisor: Professor Elise Cartmell


Cranfield University are looking for a talented individual to examine how to improve the removal of hazardous chemicals in wastewater treatment to ensure environmental protection and compliance with the water framework directive.

A possible approach to enhance removals is the addition of a ‘train’ of tertiary processes (more typical of drinking water applications) to an existing conventional wastewater treatment system. Options such as microfiltration reverse osmosis (MF-RO), ozone and granular activated carbon (GAC) are all known to be effective in removing hazardous chemicals. However such processes are controversial as they can come at a significant cost, both financially and to the environment through increased carbon outputs.

Nevertheless, some biological treatment processes remove hazardous chemicals more effectively than others, but why this occurs is not yet fully understood. Unless such an understanding is reached, the systematic and predictive manipulation of the conditions required to optimise removal of hazardous chemicals will be problematic.

This PhD project aims to provide the link between the microbial community structure, hazardous chemical removal, and operational parameters. This exciting project is sponsored by the Water Industry through the UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) organisation ( and links to the National Chemical Investigation Programme.

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You will be part of The Cranfield Water Science Institute which is an internationally excellent centre undertaking transformational research and education in the science, engineering and management of water in the municipal, industrial and natural environments. The project is also run in collaboration with Brunel and Newcastle Universities.

Entry Requirements:

Applicants for the post must have a first-class or upper second-class degree in a science or engineering discipline – Chemistry, Biology or Chemical Engineering preferred.


*Due to funding restrictions to be eligible for this funding, applicants must have:

  • no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK, i.e. no visa restrictions or have ‘settled status’, and
  • have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant and
  • not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals).

All EU nationals are eligible to receive a fees-only award if they do not have ‘settled status’ in the UK.

All non-EU nationals are very unlikely to be eligible for this funding under the Education (Fees and Awards) Regulations 1997.

How to Apply:

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application.

Please specify project title on the application form.

For further information contact us today:
School of Applied Sciences
T: +44 (0)1234 754086

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