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Vacancy for PhD Students - NUI Galway 2014



DairyWater: Development of a water use and waste management framework for the dairy processing industry

The specific goal of the project is to develop effective and sustainable technologies, which will treat dairy waste and reduce water usage in the dairy processing sector, and to conduct life cycle analysis of water use and dairy waste management for the Irish dairy processing industry. The work will comprise laboratory, on-site and desk-top studies.The €1m large-scale project (funded through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) comprises research teams from NUI Galway (& Ryan Institute), Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, Athlone Institute of Technology, and Teagasc. This project will provide financial support to four PhD students.

PhD student 1 (NUI Galway) will conduct laboratory and field-scale experiments of an IASBR technology developed in NUI Galway. Key aspects of the work will include; (1) a literature review of dairy processing wastewater treatment technologies and nitrogen removal technologies; (2) optimum operational conditions at laboratory-scale and meso-scale levels; (3) nutrient removal mechanisms at laboratory- and meso-scale levels; (4) the operation cost and design guidelines for the IASBR technology with-a-view to commercialization. The PhD supervisor is Dr. Xinmin Zhan.

PhD student 2 (TCD) will conduct laboratory research in Trinity College Dublin. Key aspects of the research will include; (1) literature review of  water  and  wastewater  treatment  by  using nanomaterial/nanotechnologies; (2) assessment of novel nanomaterials developed in CRANN on removal of nutrients  and  organic  contaminants  from  dairy  wastewater; (3) development of the efficiency of novel nanomaterials on water disinfection; (4) life cycle analysis of the developed nanomaterials; (5) determination of the operation cost with-a-view to commercialization. PhD supervisors are Dr. Liwen Xiao and Dr. Hongzhou Zhang.

PhD student 3 (UCC) will carry out the molecular microbial ecology studies at the Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, including: (1) determination of the shift of the microbial ecological structure in laboratory-scale and meso-scale IASBRs treating the dairy effluent and water reuse systems; (2) Development of bioreactor sampling regimes to obtain representative samples from established reactors and establishment of relevant sample storage and processing protocols; (3) DNA and RNA extraction from bioreactor samples, high-throughput 16S rRNA next generation sequencing, bioinformatic sequence analysis, Reactor end-point PCR cloning, sequencing and analysis of relevant functional gene diversity.ThePhD supervisor is Prof. Alan Dobson.

The PhD students will receive a high level of support from the five partner institutions. The Environmental Research Group at NUI Galway will provide access to Environmental Engineering Laboratories, as well as access to IASBR and pathogen removal technologies (PUV developed by AIT and NUI Galway) at laboratory-scale and meso-scale levels. The Environmental Research Institute at UCC will facilitate laboratory scale molecular ecological studies. The Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) in TCD will provide facilities in order to characterise and develop nanomaterials,  before  being  used  to  test  the  efficiencies  in  phosphorus  and organic contaminants removal. Teagasc (Song Miao) will provide the students with experience in dairy processing industry. There is an advisory board in place for the project, whose members is from EPA, SEAI, and the Dairy Industry. The advisory board will provide relevant knowledge and experience to the project.

The stipend paid to the successful candidates will be €16,000 per annum for four years and tuition fees will be funded by the project. Applicants must have a degree (2.1 minimum) in environmental engineering, civil engineering, environmental science, microbiology, biochemical engineering, biotechnology or a related discipline suited for the PhD being applied for.

To Apply:

Please send your CV and a cover letter with names and contact details of two referees to individual PhD supervisors:

(PhD student1)

Dr. Xinmin Zhan
Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Informatics
National University of Ireland, Galway
Tel: +353-91-495239

 (PhD student 2)

Dr. Liwen Xiao

Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Trinity College Dublin

Tel: +353-1-8963741

(PhD student 3)

Prof. Alan Dobson

Environmental Research Institute,

University College Cork

Tel: +353-21-4901946


For additional information please contact:
Dr. William Finnegan
Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Informatics,
National University of Ireland, Galway
Tel: +353-91-494442

All the positions will be filled when suitable candidates have been found.