EPSRC FIBE2 CDT PhD studentship with McAuliffe: Engineering Smart Microbes for sustainable and resilient land regeneration:

This is a four-year (1+3 MRes/PhD) studentship funded through the Cambridge EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment: Resilience in a Changing World (FIBE2 CDT). The FIBE2 CDT aims to develop the next generation of infrastructure professionals who can create, shape and deliver the national vision for UK infrastructure, who will be equipped with a versatile and cross-disciplinary skill set to meet the most complex emerging challenges and contribute effectively to better infrastructure decision-making in the UK.

The project is funded in collaboration with major UK design and build environmental contractor, McAuliffe Group and its specialist technical soils and groundwater remediation arm, Geostream UK Natural and engineered microorganisms have played a significant role in recent academic and commercial approaches for the treatment of damaged land. These approaches have included ground improvement, via biomineralisation through microbial-induced calcite precipitation (MICP), bioremediation via sorption and/or precipitation processes, and biological self-healing within the MICP environment.

Those approaches have so far been mainly researched or applied in isolation to meet different design requirements and deliver different outcomes. There is a strong case to be made for exploring synergies between those techniques to combine them into a single approach. Hence, this project aims to optimise the use of those microbes through the integration of those processes to deliver significant added-value and cost-effective development of sustainable and resilient land regeneration approaches. The project will involve developing an understanding of the essential requirements and boundaries for each process.

This will be followed by the exploration, selection and optimisation of the microorganisms and nutrients, the environmental conditions and related special and temporal variabilities, the contaminants and soil environment and the development of appropriate experimental techniques and validation tests to deliver the required decision support tools to enable the tailoring or the developed combined processes to suit any new and different practical scenarios. Large scale trials will enable the testing of the developed system.

For project-specific enquires please e-mail Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa (aa22@cam.ac.uk). For general enquiries, please email cdtcivil-courseadmin@eng.cam.ac.uk.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) a good degree, preferably at masters level, in a relevant engineering or science discipline. They should have relevant experimental skills. Experience with working with bacteria and contaminated soils would be advantageous. The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

Applications should be made online on https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/application-process/how-do-i-apply stating course code EGEGR3 with project: Engineering Smart Microbes for sustainable and resilient land regeneration with supervisor Professor Abir Al-Tabbaa stated on the form.

The FIBE2 CDT studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for UK students. A small number of funded places may be available for excellent EU/international students. Further details about eligibility and funding can be found at: https://www.ukri.org/councils/esrc/career-and-skills-development/funding-for-postgraduate-training/eligibility-for-studentship-funding/ https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/fees https://www.cambridgetrust.org/scholarships/

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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