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Monitoring, control and mitigation of GHG emissions in Wastewater Treatment Plants: Towards carbon neutrality

The studentship is for a period of 3 years and successful applicants from the UK/EU will receive an annual stipend of £20.000 per annum (tax free) plus payment of their full time Home/EU tuition fees.

Applications are invited from enthusiastic individuals for EU funded full time PhD studentship with skills, knowledge and/or experience in one or more of the specialist areas listed below:

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Process Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronics
  • Computer Science


  • Process and environmental engineering
  • Environmental modelling
  • Use of software tools for models development
  • Data Analytics and Machine Learning
  • Ability in acquiring and interpreting research data and results
  • Project and Time Management 

The successful applicants will join the Environmental Engineering Group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Water Companies in England and Water UK released the ‘Net Zero 2030 Routemap – Unlocking a net-zero carbon future’, a plan to realise their ambitious Public Interest Commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and progress towards net zero operational emissions by 2030. This provides a bold plan of operational emissions reduction and offsets, two decades ahead of the UK Government. There is a need for a software architectural approach that enables the self-management and monitoring in uncertain and unpredictable environments and creates automatically plans that mitigate GHG emissions in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The project aims to develop a reliable tool for the online monitoring and mitigation of process emissions in the water sector supporting the UK’s carbon neutrality plans.

The objectives of the PhD are:

  • To identify and prioritize WWTPs with a higher risk of emissions.
  • To design and develop techniques and methods (e.g. soft sensors) to measure, predict and mitigate GHGs emissions across the industry.
  • To develop the system architecture for the on-line software tool that connects the on-line sensors with the databases and with a dynamic model. The user will be able to identify whether a specific operational change has triggered a significant difference in the GHG emissions and take action to mitigate it in real-time.
  • To develop robust, cost-effective and flexible data-driven techniques coupled with mechanistic models for GHGs monitoring to deliver adaptive models to be integrated into existing WWTP operation and control strategies.
  • To evaluate and validate the effectiveness and efficiency of the autonomic architecture components in automatically managing and mitigating GHG emissions. The tool will utilize operational data, detect GHGs triggering conditions and advise on mitigation measures.

The project will demonstrate the feasibility of integrating carbon neutrality targets into the monitoring and control of WWTPs.

Please contact Dr Evina Katsou (Evina.Katsou@Brunel.ac.uk) for an informal discussion about the studentships.


Applicants will have or expected to receive a first degree at 2:1 (65%) or above in areas such as: Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Process Engineering, Industrial Engineering, or Environmental Sciences. An MSc degree is an advantage but not essential. Previous industrial experience and/or national or international scientific awards will also be advantageous.

How to apply

To apply for this position, you must email all of the following documents to: Evina.Katsou @brunel.ac.uk and cedps‐pgr‐office@brunel.ac.uk by 1st July 2021 at the latest:

  • Your up‐to‐date CV;
  • Your single A4 page, single‐spaced personal statement setting out why you are interested in undertaking this project;
  • Your degree certificate(s) and transcript(s);
  • Evidence of your English language capability to IELTS 6.5 or equivalent, if appropriate

Meet the Supervisor for this Studentship

Evina Katsou - Academic / Research Career - Dr. Evina Katsou is Reader in Civil & Environmental Engineering and Course Director of the Water Engineering MSc at Brunel University London. Dr Katsou is leading the Water Engineering group consisting of 8 PhD students and 4 postdoctoral researchers. She has authored 77 publications (h-index: 21), 11 book chapters, over 100 presentations in international conferences/workshops and has delivered over 16 invited talks. Dr Katsou has 1 patent on the production of biopolymers within wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). She is the PI of 6 H2020 and 4 UK National projects, as well as Co-I of 4 H2020 projects in the area of circular economy. Evina is currently leading the WG (Transformation Tools) of the Cost Action CA17133 and co-leading the SMART WATER working group of the ICT4Water Cluster, while she is member of the drafting team of the New ISO standards TC 323 on Circular Economy (WG: measuring circularity). Within projects HYDROUSA (H2020; Technical Director), SmartPlant (H2020; Technical Director), DEEP-Purple (BBI; DSS development and circularity assessment), WATER-MINING (H2020; WP leader), BL2F (H2020; WP Leader), INTCATCH (H2020), iWAYS (SPIRE H2020) she is leader of the WPs related with the development and application of tools for the optimization, monitoring, assessment  and validation of the new processes / products. Dr Katsou has also conducts wide range of consulting activities with contracts awarded from leading UK water industry partners, including Affinity Water, Arup, Sever Trent, BuroHappold Engineering, Anglian Water. Industrial Activities -
  1. Determination of the most effective & low-cost solution for tackling the problem of galvanized iron corrosion in specific parts of the Affinity Water piping network, which is caused by the surface water imported from Grafham reservoir; 2019-2020
  2.  Circular Economy Shop Window, Anglian Water 2019-2020 
  3. MBR design and start-up, Astana, Nazarbayev University, 2019-2020
  4. Technical support for the chemical-physical-respirometric control & preliminary evaluation of an EGSB reactor for the treatment of wastewater from textile industry, SIMEM SpA, 2014            
  5. Technical support for the evaluation & optimization of the wastewater treatment plant (technical & economic data) of the pharmaceutical company Fidia Farmaceutici SpA, Abano Terme (PD), 2013-2014. 
  6. Monitoring of the current treatment processes & capacity of the municipal wastewater treatment plant of Maser Municipality (TV, Italy); examination & evaluation of the potential co-treatment of wastewater from the Municipality of Asolo (TV, Italy); feasibility study & technical aspects, Alto Trevigiano Servizi Srl, InnovEn srl, 2013-2014.  
  7. Monitoring of the wastewater treatment plant of the Hellenic Petroleum in the Eleusis Refinery, Hellenic Petroleum, 2010 
  8. Disposal of the treated wastewater of the Hellenic Petroleum in the Eleusis Refinery & monitoring of the sea water & sediments in the vicinity of the outfall, Hellenic Petroleum, 2010 
  9. Monitoring & improvement of the industrial & municipal wastewater treatment plants of the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI), HAI, 2010 
  10. Environmental assessment of the disposal of the treated wastewaters of the Eleusis Refinery, Hellenic Petroleum, 2009