Research Engineer EngD in Sustainability for Engineering and Energy Systems (SEES) with Perceptive Engineering Ltd

“Minimising Energy Consumption in the Water Industry: A Robust Model-Based Optimal Control Approach”

The University of Surrey hosts a prestigious EPSRC-funded Industrial Doctorate Centre offering an EngD in Sustainability for Engineering and Energy Systems (SEES). The SEES EngD is a four-year doctorate for researchers who aspire to key leadership positions in industry. The programme is academically equivalent to a PhD, but has one major difference; the student (or ‘Research Engineer’) spends the majority of their time based with a sponsor organisation, working on commercial research priorities. They return to the University for intensive courses, conferences and seminars designed to develop specialist technical knowledge and exceptional business skills.

An EngD studentship is available with Perceptive Engineering Ltd, an engineering consultancy based on the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus in Cheshire ( PEL was founded in 2002 to provide software solutions and services to industry in the area of multivariate process monitoring and model-based optimisation and control technologies. In the past five years, PEL has expanded substantially in the water industry to optimise operational efficiency and reduce energy consumption. PEL has identified model updating and robust optimal control as the key technical challenges to be addressed to enable long-term business growth.

This project will provide a systems approach to reducing energy consumption in the water industry, such that processing plants can be operated more sustainably while meeting regulations on water quality…

Whilst water companies have the expertise to initiate and lead the development of new treatment technologies, they often do not have the in-house capability of developing and deploying software solutions that incorporate mathematical modelling and model-based optimisation and control algorithms. Therefore, PEL is in an ideal position to transfer research results into practical application in the water industry.

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  • The key to the project is the development of self-updating modelling and robust optimal control methodologies and the objectives of the project are: The development of a modelling method that can adapt to changing process dynamics
  • The development of a robust optimal control method taking into account the uncertainty in model predictions
  • The application of the developed methodologies in minimising energy consumption of one waste water treatment and one clean water production process through the existing clients of PEL.

The Research Engineer will be based in PEL, Cheshire

Person specification

We are looking for a candidate with a combination of technical and transferable skills who is capable of working across a range of academic and professional disciplines, and in a complex organisational structure. The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate critical and innovative thinking.

A good engineering (or applied science) degree with substantial quantitative methods content. Ideally candidates will also have experience in programming, data-based modelling, chemometrics, optimisationautomatic control. Some work experience especially in the environmental and water industries would be a plus.

Funding details

The current stipends for EngD studentships are £19,800 per annum or above (tax-free). To be eligible for funding, applicants must demonstrate their eligibility to work in the UK (see Please confirm in your covering letter that you are eligible for EPSRC funding.

Closing date: Friday 5th April

Interviews will take place in Daresbury on the 19th April. Successful candidates will be informed of interview times etc on 12th April.

To apply: please visit the ‘Available Projects’ section of our website ( For further information, please contact

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