School of Computing and Engineering

Sustainability and Resilience-based Performance Assessment of Urban Water Infrastructure

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.

Given the external drivers such as climate change, population growth/immigration, infrastructure ageing and rapid urbanisation growth, sustainable and resilient water infrastructure are high on the agenda. Long-term planning for maintenance and rehabilitation strategies in water systems needs to be closely aligned with these objectives. Relative to these conventional assessment criteria in water systems, assessments including new aspects of the sustainability framework (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions, resilience and social acceptance) may result in lasting benefits for complex socio-ecological systems and ecosystem services. However, the impact of a holistic performance assessment including both conventional and new sustainability and resilience criteria needs to be carefully analysed in the water infrastructure about which little is known.

Research goal

This PhD programme aims to assess sustainability and resilience-based performance of water infrastructure over a long-term planning horizon. The water infrastructure analysed here is composed of water supply, urban drainage and wastewater systems. The assessment criteria covers different aspects of sustainability frameworks including social, environmental, economic, governance and assess management. As a result of this performance assessment over different parts of water systems, this PhD programme also aims to identify a new comprehensive index for sustainability and resilience assessment of water infrastructure. The new index can therefore be used for water industries as a measure to evaluate the functionality of water infrastructure and identify the system bottlenecks. Appropriate strategies are also suggested and evaluated through a real-life case study based on the sustainability based criteria to improve the system performance and alleviate the bottlenecks. 

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