PhD Studentship: River infrastructure planning and environmental impact mitigation

United Kingdom
Feb 13, 2018
Sep 03, 2018
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
The Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (CDT-SIS) at the University of Southampton invites applications for a 4-year PhD studentship in the area of optimisation/simulation/statistical modelling applied to river infrastructure planning and environmental impact mitigation. The scholarship starts 24 September 2018 and includes tuition fees and a maintenance grant of £15,000 (at 2018/19 rates) per annum.  


Project Description

The studentships, supported by CDT-SIS, will involve working on an interdisciplinary project entitled “RIVER INFRASTRUCTURE IMPACT PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT MITIGATION”, under the joint supervision of Prof Paul Kemp and Dr Ben Waterson (University of Southampton) and Dr Jesse O’Hanley (University of Kent). The aim of the project is to develop novel analytical approaches for assessing impacts and guiding river infrastructure planning (e.g. based on case studies in South America and other regions).  

Methodological lines of research may include development of one or more of the following: 1) new optimisation based models and solution techniques (e.g. mixed integer linear programming, multi-objective optimisation models, heuristics) to cost-effectively prioritise river infrastructure placement, removal, and mitigation decisions; 2) simulation models (e.g. discrete-event simulations, agent based models) of fish population growth and dispersal dynamics in fragmented river catchments; 3) state-of-the-art statistical (e.g. multivariate regression, Bayesian methods) and machine leaning (e.g. neural networks, support vector machines, decision trees) techniques to predict river barrier locations, likelihood of failure, and connectivity / hydrological / ecological impacts, etc.; 4) hybrid methods (e.g. simulation-optimisation approaches).  

Candidates are required to have an excellent undergraduate honours degree in a quantitative subject such as Operational Research, Management Science, Business Analytics, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Engineering, or a closely allied discipline. Candidates holding an MSc degree in a quantitative subject are strongly preferred. Good English communication skills, both oral and written, are essential. Candidates must also have prior knowledge and training in optimisation, statistics, or both. Computer programming ability in C/C++, Java, or similar is highly desirable.  

The project offers exciting opportunities for external collaboration with and travel to other partner institutions in the UK and South America, as well as additional specialised training in geographic information systems (GIS), use of advanced Operational Research / Statistical software, and/or attendance at National Taught Courses in Operational Research (NATCOR) workshops.  



Funding is available for UK and EU students on a competition basis.  



Candidates must hold the following qualifications:  

  • A First or 2.1 honours degree at undergraduate level in a quantitative subject (see Project Descriptions for more detail).  
  • A strong numerical background is highly desired for this project.  
  • Scores of 6.5 in the IELT test overall with 6.0 in each category (or equivalent) for students who are non-native English speakers and who did not gain their academic qualifications in the UK.  


How to apply

Applicants should apply via the University of Southampton’s online PhD programme application system. A research proposal is not required for this scheme but applicants should ensure that their applications are completed by the deadline.  

For consideration for the studentship, applications should include all of the following:  

A cover letter explaining your interest in the research project along with relevant training and skills appropriate to carrying out the project  

  • CV  
  • Official transcripts of BSc/MSc degrees  
  • Two academic references from institutions you have studied at or the names and contact information of two academic references who can supply letters of support if short-listed.  
  • English qualifications obtained (if relevant)  


For more information please contact Prof Paul Kemp (, our admissions team, or see  

This project is being run in participation with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (View Website). For details of our 4 Year PhD programme and further projects, please see

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