Website University of Cambridge

Climate change and human demands are threatening water supplies worldwide. To respond to water scarcity, countries around the world are increasingly investing in desalination. Over the last decade, the costs of desalination have dropped, making this technology affordable for a broader range of contexts and uses. Global installed desalination capacity reached 61.8 million m3/day in 2020 (equivalent to 4.5 percent of global domestic water use). In the next two years, scenarios suggest that an additional capacity of 26.1 million m3/day (equivalent to 42 percent of current capacity) will be contracted out. Moreover, interest in green hydrogen is expected to further boost the demand for desalination.

To help advance desalination in a sustainable and strategic manner, we need to quantify its energy and material requirements at the global scale – this is the aim of this research project. The project will provide the first global assessment of the joint energy and material requirements of desalination throughout its entire life cycle. It will do so by tracing materials and energy flows for desalination at the global level, identify any bottlenecks, and suggest policy and technology options for managing its energy and material requirements.

We are looking for a PhD student to lead this project. This is an exciting opportunity to shape research on an emerging water technology.

You will be a great fit if:

  • You have a First-Class or High Upper-Second Class master’s degree in engineering, earth sciences, economics, statistics, or computer science.
  • You enjoy working with data and have experience translating ideas into efficient computer code. – You are interested in exploring the potential – and the limits – of new technologies in addressing climate change impacts.
  • You want to understand more about the link between emerging energy technologies, such as green hydrogen, nanomaterials, such as graphene, and the world’s water supplies.
  • You ask yourself how the world will meet its energy, material and water needs in a sustainable way.
  • In 5 years, you see yourself working for the public or private sector on solutions to advance climate mitigation and adaptation.
  • You enjoy working with colleagues from different disciplinary backgrounds and nationalities.
  • You have previous research or professional experience on related topics [note: desirable but not essential]

You will join the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Sustainable Development, and work alongside world-leading experts on water, energy, and material systems. The Centre is part of the Department of Engineering, which is consistently ranked among the top five engineering departments in the world. In Cambridge, you will also be exposed to the University’s growing initiatives to develop solutions to address urgent environmental challenges, such as Cambridge Zero and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.

At the end of your PhD, you will be equipped with the skills and expertise to work on global water policy and the sustainable roll-out of desalination – a growing technology. You will gain expertise in desalination, water management, and life cycle assessment methodologies. You will be able to work on water and energy policy for the public or private sectors or embark upon an academic career in engineering and technology.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree in an Engineering, Economics or Computer Science.

This PhD opportunity is fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for eligible UK students. EU and international students may be considered for a small number of awards at the UK rate. Full eligibility criteria can be found via the following link: https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/fees/what-my-fee-status

To apply for this studentship, please send a two-page CV and a one-page cover letter explaining why you are a good fit to Dr Edoardo Borgomeo ([email protected]) to arrive no later than 5pm on March 18, 2024. Your CV should indicate the names of two references to be contacted in case you are shortlisted for the position.

You are encouraged to apply early, as applications may close early if the position is filled before March 18, 2024. Interviews (virtual) will take place shortly after this date.

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University’s Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. The applicant portal can be accessed via: www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/egegpdpeg. The final deadline for PhD applications is 16 May 2024, although it is advisable to apply earlier than this.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

Duration:
5 years

To apply for this job email your details to eb973@cam.ac.uk

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