Six presitigious PhD scholarships available for 2019

Researchers in the UNSW Water Research Centre are currently looking for exceptional PhD scholars to work on six Scientia PhD projects on topics ranging from remediating contaminated water, fishway design and climate change impacts on extreme rainfalls.

Scientia PhD Scholarships offer the opportunity for PhD scholars to work on cutting-edge research to solve complex problems and improve the lives of people in local and global communities. These prestigious scholarships offer unique benefits, individualised support and guaranteed funding to research your personal development goals. Scholarship stipends are $40 000 per year for 4 years with up to an additional $10000 available each year for career development.

https://www.2025.unsw.edu.au/apply/

Applications close on the 20th July 2018. If you have questions about any of the projects please get in touch with the research supervisors listed.

An innovative fishway to restore migration for freshwater fish

Stefan Felder, Richard Kingsford, William Peirson

Fish are the most threatened of freshwater vertebrates. Internationally, fish populations have declined 76% over the past 40 years. A primary contributor to this loss are dams obstructing migrations critical to many fish life-cycles. UNSW scientists and engineers have developed an innovative fishway to restore migrations over high dams. The project builds on successful fish attraction trials as well as numerical and physical modelling. The study will move to larger scale, optimising fishway design by large-scale experiments with live fish. The objective is a final design to restore fish passage to previously obstructed river systems internationally.
Due to its interdisciplinarity, the project is open for HDR candidates from a range of disciplines within Science and Engineering.
https://www.2025.unsw.edu.au/apply/scientia-phd-scholarships/innovative-fishway-restore-migration-freshwater-fish

Development of advanced reduction processes to remediate contaminated water including PFAS

Denis O’Carroll, Martin Andersen & Michael Manefield

An advanced reduction process will be developed and optimised to treat a range of emerging water contaminants.  Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) will be a significant focus of this study as they are rapidly becoming the most significant contaminant of concern at many contaminated sites.  Given the strong industry engagement by the project team it is expected that this project will have direct industry relevance as well as being highly novel and impactful.

https://www.2025.unsw.edu.au/apply/scientia-phd-scholarships/development-advanced-reduction-processes-remediate-contaminated-water

Climate change and flood mitigation through water sensitive urban design

Fiona Johnson, Ana Deletic, Kefeng Zhang

To assess the ability of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) infrastructure in mitigating floods it is essential to model both the flood producing rainfall and the pre-event rainfall. Engineering practice currently either models the storm event itself (e.g. IFDs) for flood assessments or uses long term continuous simulations to assess stormwater quality. But continuous simulation is not computationally tractable to calculate flood impacts so a middle ground of semi-continuous modelling is needed. This PhD will develop methods to specify the required length of pre-event rainfall to enable semi-continuous flood simulation and how this will change with climate change. We seek a candidate with strong mathematical and statistical analysis skills and the ability to translate theory into engineering practice.

https://www.2025.unsw.edu.au/apply/scientia-phd-scholarships/climate-change-and-flood-mitigation-through-water-sensitive-urban-design

How intense will design storms become with rising temperatures?

Ashish Sharma, Jason Evans, Fiona Johnson

Our research shows storms will intensify as temperature rise. This PhD will assess the extent of increase using climate modelling experiments. Such experiments have traditionally suffered from the considerable biases present in GCM simulations of the lower and lateral boundary conditions that define a high resolution climate model experiment. This PhD will use sophisticated alternatives for removing systematic biases in the lateral boundary conditions of such experiments, with the aim of assessing the extent of change that results in the resulting extreme storm. Outcomes here can help define how we design Civil Engineering infrastructure in warming climates.

https://www.2025.unsw.edu.au/apply/scientia-phd-scholarships/how-intense-will-design-storms-become-rising-temperatures

Hybrid green wall systems for wastewater treatment in urban landscapes

Ana Deletic, Linda Corkery, Kefeng Zhang

Urbanisation and population growth have amplified the strain on potable water supply, increasing the need for wastewater reuse. Hybrid green wall systems are novel on-site technologies for stormwater/greywater treatment and reuse that can offer multiple benefits to the environment (cooling, noise isolation, amenity, etc.), while providing reliable alternative water resource. However communities have poor understanding of these systems, impeding their widespread implementation. This project will focus on (1) designing and testing efficient hybrid green wall system, under various operational conditions, (2) validating laboratory findings by monitoring pilot system; and (3) examining community interactions and responses to these novel green systems.

https://www.2025.unsw.edu.au/apply/scientia-phd-scholarships/hybrid-green-wall-systems-wastewater-treatment-urban-landscapes-0

Improving hydrologic predictions under uncertainty

Lucy Marshall, Ashish Sharma, Kristen Splinter

Water is a fundamental resource, and a foremost challenge is to make predictions in changing and dynamic environments. This project will develop a novel computational framework for simulating, quantifying, and constraining uncertainty in hydrologic models for dynamic catchments. The project will forge a basis for understanding how model errors reflect non-stationarity in catchment processes and will develop new tools for hydrologic uncertainty analysis with the goal of improving the sustainable management of water resources. The ideal candidate will be an enthusiastic and self-motivated emerging researcher, with a particular interest in hydrology, water resources engineering, or computational analysis/modelling. 

https://www.2025.unsw.edu.au/apply/scientia-phd-scholarships/improving-hydrologic-predictions-under-uncertainty

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