School of Computing and Engineering

Improvement of Water Food Energy Nexus at Urban Systems

Primary supervisor: Dr Kourosh Behzadian

Start dates: January, May and September of each academic year

Duration: 3 years for full-time PhD or 5 years for part-time PhD

Research context

Research at the University of West London lives in an ecosystem of interdisciplinary research. This PhD position is based in the School of Computing and Engineering.

Currently, the majority of the world’s population live in cities under a lot of pressure and risk from climate change (e.g. urban flood, summer drought and high temperature) and consequently water resources scarcity, energy shortages and lack of high quality and adequate food supply. All this has resulted in the production of food in most economically viable (e.g. low labour and tax costs) and supply of energy and water in different geographical locations and then transfer to urban areas. This may result in negative impacts on food quality (e.g. lower nutritional value) and larger harmful effects on the environment and greater greenhouse gas emissions. Such negative impacts on health, environment and cultures have been a strong motive for planning with a view to improving water, food and energy production by using alternative and emerging options and technologies. Water, food and energy are three interwoven ‘spheres’ which are essential for human activities. Thus understanding and managing the complex interactions between water, energy and food can be very efficient for poverty reduction and sustainable development, which will be central to this PhD study.

Research goal

This PhD programme aims to develop a platform based on the system dynamic (SD) approach for performance assessment of intervention strategies in urban areas to improve water, food and energy nexus in urban area scale. The SD model can incorporate different external scenarios including climate change and rapid population growth/immigration and infrastructure deteriorations and analyse potential intervention strategies which are defined as a number of intervention options covering a wide range of emerging and cutting-edge technologies in water, energy and food industries (e.g. water-efficient/energy-efficient household/community level appliances and low-energy/low-water food productions). 

Candidate profile

Applicants will be expected to hold a good first degree (first or upper second class) and/or a Masters degree (or equivalent) in Civil Engineering, Water Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Natural Resources or other similar disciplines. The candidate should be able to work in a collaborative environment, with a strong commitment to reaching research excellence and achieving assigned objectives. It is expected that the PhD candidates will carry out applied research work that will start from the establishment of a theoretical framework, continue with the implementation of a software prototype and the experimentation with real data, and conclude with the validation of a proposed solution through a real-life case study.

Besides basic knowledge in water systems, background knowledge and/or previous experience in the following areas, though not mandatory, will be considered very favourably: programming languages (e.g. MATLAB, VBA or MS Visual Studio C#), water supply and urban drainage systems.

All applicants for whom English is not their first language must also demonstrate their English language proficiency through evidence of IELTS at overall 7 (with 6.5 in all four skills) or by providing access to MA/MSc chapters or published work.

Further information

For general enquiries about the application process visit the Graduate School pages.

Questions regarding academic aspects of the project should be directed to kourosh.behzadian@uwl.ac.uk