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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S022066/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water and Waste Infrastructure Systems Engineered for Resilience (Water-WISER)
Principal Investigator: Evans, Professor BE
Other Investigators:
Tyrrel, Professor S Liang, Professor Q Tillotson, Professor MR
Blenkinsopp, Miss F
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Arup Group Ltd Dept for International Development DFID G2O Water Technologies Ltd
Isle Utilities Jacobs UK Limited JBA Trust
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agri & Tech Mott Macdonald UN HABITAT
University of Oregon WaterAid UK WSUP (Water & Sanit for Urban Poor) UK
Yorkshire Water
Department: Civil Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 June 2019 Ends: 30 November 2027 Value (£): 6,453,010
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Urban & Land Management Waste Management
Water Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Water Technical Consultancy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel Q – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The world is changing fast. Rapid urbanisation, large scale population movements, increasing pressure from climate change, natural and man-made disasters create enormous pressures on local and national governments to provide housing, water, sanitation, solid waste (rubbish) management and other critical services. In the UK there is also an ongoing challenge associated with aging infrastructure (many sewers for example are more than 100 years old) and at the same time, calls for new investment in housing, the construction of new towns, and an urgent need to reduce reliance on expensive fossil fuels, reduce pollution and increase the recovery of valuable resources. As economic conditions improve, people naturally demand better services; twenty-four hour water piped direct to the house and convenient safe private toilets have replaced public stand pipes and public toilets as the aspiration of many families in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Latin America (the "global south"). All of this creates both a challenge and an opportunity. In coming decades there will be a huge demand for new infrastructure investments in the global south; more than 4.4 billion people worldwide do not have a sanitation system that effectively collects and treats all the waste produced by families, while 2.4 billion people urgently need new water supply services. The UK engineering industry is poised to play a significant role in meeting both this global demand and the need for new innovations at home. But therein lies the challenge; the new generation of services and infrastructure must, by very definition, be essentially different in nature from what has been traditionally provided. In an era of increasing uncertainty from, for example, the changing climate, the traditional approach to the design of piped water supplies and sewerage networks would result in such a major over design that the investment costs alone would be prohibitive. Similarly, it is no longer acceptable to just keep adding additional treatment processes on to waste water treatment systems to meet increasingly challenging conditions and higher discharge standards, nor is it acceptable to continue to pump valuable nutrients and carbon into our rivers and streams; new approaches are needed, which recover the nutrient and energy value of human and solid waste streams, in fact turning away from the idea of waste altogether and moving towards the idea of resource management and the so-called circular economy.

What is needed to meet this demand is a new generation of research engineers and scientists trained not only in the fundamentals of 'what is known' but in the more challenging area of 'what can be re-imagined'. The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water and Waste Infrastructure Services Engineered for Resilience (Water-WISER) will train five cohorts of researchers with the new skills needed to meet these enormous challenges. Students in the Centre will have the opportunity to study at one of three globally-leading Universities working on resilient infrastructure and development. They will take a one year Masters course and then move on to carry out tailored research, in partnership with engineering consultancy firms, universities or development agencies such as the World Bank, UNICEF or WaterAid; studying how to deliver innovative, effective and resilient infrastructure and services in rapidly growing poor cities.

Water-WISER graduates will combine a solid training in the fundamental engineering and science of water and sanitation, solid waste management, water resources and drainage, with much broader training and development which will build the skills needed to collaborate with non-engineers and non-scientists, to work with sociologists and political scientists, city planners, digital designers, business development specialists and administrators, health specialists, professionals working in international development and finance.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk