Current WISE CDT students and staff at Poole Harbour

PhD Studentship available for September 2016 start:Event Management and Post Event Response Planning for Smart Water Networks

A exciting opportunty to undertake a PhD studentship in Event Management and Post Event Response Planning for Smart Water Networks is available to start in September 2016, as part of the EPSRC Water Informatics Science Engineering Centre for Doctoral Training (WISE CDT). 



The Centre for Water Systems at the University of Exeter has a long history of research into water systems modelling and management. This PhD project, which is funded by the EPSRC via the WISE Centre for Doctoral Training, aims to develop, test/validate and demonstrate the new methodology to support decisions made by control room operators when dealing with various incidents / events in a water distribution system. The research will involve collecting and processing relevant sensor and other data, developing methodology and prototype tool for identifying optimal incident/event response in terms of suitable operational interventions, determining the best way to visualise and present proposed solutions, testing and verifying the above on historical and real-life events and finally, evaluating the associated benefits. The research is likely to involve development of various real-time control methods, optimisation, visualisation and data analytics.

The new technology will allow United Utilities and other water companies in the UK and abroad to further improve their service which, in turn, will result in improved quality of life in cities, improved preservation of natural resources, better protection of the environment and improved sustainability.

Water provision in cities is critical for our everyday lives. However, most of water supply and distribution systems in the western world are now over hundred years old and deteriorating and hence unfit to meet the new challenges of climate change, urban growth and changing population demographics in the next hundred years. Radical replacement of the current ubiquitous infrastructure is unrealistic, unreasonable and cost inefficient. The solution is to better manage these systems in a more pro-active, i.e. smarter way. It is therefore no surprise that the worldwide investment in the smart water infrastructure is expected to reach £30 billion in the next ten years.

More specifically, the water industry in the UK and abroad has a pressing need to better manage interruptions to water supply caused by various failures such as pipe bursts, equipment failures and similar events. One way of doing this is by making the use of increasingly available real-time pressure, flow and other sensor data that is currently collected in water distribution networks. Past collaborative work between the University of Exeter and Untitled Utilities has developed an award winning technology that makes use of this data to detect and locate failure events in a timely and reliable manner. What is currently lacking is the methodology for effective response to these events.

The successful candidate will spend the first year of the programme undertaking taught modules at the University of Exeter as part of the WISE CDT Postgraduate School. The research project will be carried out in years 2,3 and 4 of the studentship. 

Please see the WISE CDT website for further infomormation on the programme.


Academic entry requirements

We are looking for a highly motivated applicants with at least a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in Engineering or Computer Science. Applicants in related fields of Physics and Applied Mathematics are also welcome to apply. Previous experience/education in real-time control, software programming or water systems modelling is desirable but not obligatory.


Duration of Award

Four Years, based at the University of Exeter Streatham Campus


Value of Award

 Full tuition fees and a stipend to cover living costs worth £14,057 as per the current Research Council rate for UK and EU students.


Contact for further enquiries   

Prof. Zoran Kapelan via  or phone +44 (0)1392 724054. 

Prof Kapelan welcomes informal enquiries on the details of the project. 


How to apply

Please send:

  • a CV
  • covering letter
  • two academic references (or details of how to contact referees)
  • transcripts of academic studies 

to Ms Louisa King via

Interviews will be held in June.


Application deadline 31 May 2016.

Date: 3 May 2016

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