UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Funded PhD Studentship – Community Water Management for a Liveable London (CAMELLIA)

1 March 2019

A fully-funded studentship in community engagement or systems thinking for urban water management is available at UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering

London thames

UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering invites applications for a fully funded 4-year PhD studentship covering UK/EU fees plus stipend. The research topic will be integrated water management in London, with a specialist focus on systems thinking and / or community engagement.  


Title: PhD Studentship in Community Water Management 

Supervisors: Professor Sarah Bell and Dr Nici Zimmermann, UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering 

Stipend: £17,009 plus fees of £5,210
Start Date: September/October 2019
Funding Duration: 4 years
For eligibility please check the EPSRC website.


This PhD will be part of the Community Water Management for a Liveable London (CAMELLIA) project, in collaboration with Imperial College London, the University of Oxford and the British Geological Survey.

London faces significant water management challenges due to expected growth, climate change, and the complexity and various scales over which water management operates. Achieving sustainable and resilient urban water management will require meaningful citizen engagement. Water is embedded in everyday life, and the health of London’s environment has an immediate connection to the wellbeing of Londoners. 

The CAMELLIA project brings together environmental, engineering, urban planning and socio-economic experts with governmental and planning authorities, industry, developers and citizens to co-design sustainable water systems in London. This PhD will address the community engagement and / or systems thinking elements of the project, depending on the area of expertise and interests of the successful candidate.

The objectives of the CAMELLIA project are:

1) To developstrategic partnerships with the various stakeholder communities involved and affected by water managementdecisions.

2) To work with these partners to understand communal perceptions of the water system, challenges and common goals.

3) In collaboration all the stakeholders, collate, develop and integrate models so that they can represent all of theinteracting components of the urban water cycle.

4) To develop system analysis tools so that the information in these models can be translated into a common language thatenables their structures and output to be directly compared using visualisation tools, which can be run on-line via aCommunity Water Management Portal. 

5) To demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach and the accompanying tools through a set of four case studies for arange of different challenges: Southwark (urban renewal); Thamesmead (housing development); Mogden (waterinfrastructure regeneration); Enfield (Flood risk and water quality). 


The proposed PhD topic will contribute to the Thamesmead case study within the CAMELLIA project. It will involve working with stakeholders and communities in Thamesmead and surrounding neighbourhoods to develop and evaluate methods for engagement with urban water management in the delivery of a major urban regeneration scheme. The methods that could be used include, but are not limited to, system mapping, system dynamics, community co-design and community modelling. The project is highly interdisciplinary, requiring collaboration across the topics of of urban environments, water systems, systems thinking, stakeholder and community engagement. 

Person Specification

Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in such a subject awarded with a first-class or upper second-class (2:1) honours, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard from a recognised higher education institute. 

•    Excellent research skills
•    An MSc degree in engineering, environmental science, social science or other relevant discipline.
•    Candidates without a MSc degree may be admitted in exceptional cases where suitable research or professional experience can be demonstrated
•    Interest in the challenges facing the water management in London
•    Knowledge of relevant research methods
•    Ability to use personal initiative, prioritise workload and work as part of a team in the CAMELLIA project
•    Good interpersonal and communication skills (oral and written)

Application procedure

Stage 1 

Pre-application documents - (1) CV, (2) academic transcripts, and (3) 1-page personal statement outlining motivation, interest and eligibility for the post - should be emailed directly to the PhD Administrator, bseer-phd-admin@ucl.ac.ukwith EPSRC application in the subject field.

Stage 2  

Following the interview, the successful candidate will be invited to make a formal application to the UCL Research Degree programme.  

Any offer made will be subject to references and proof of meeting the UCL English language requirements. 

Informal enquiries on the content of the research topic should be emailed to Sarah Bell s.bell@ucl.ac.uk

Deadline for application 26 April 2019
Interviews week commencing 13 May 2019

Image Credit: Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash