College of Engineering and Built Environment
PhD Scholarship 2015 Project
Lead supervisor name &
contact details:
Dr Alan Gilmer
[email protected]
Research Centre / Institute
Name and Website (if
Environmental Sustainability & Health Institute
Water Innovation Research Centre
Scholarship Details
The stipend is €10,000 per annum. The cost of EU academic
fee will be covered for the duration of the scholarship. NonEU applicants are eligible to take up the scholarships, but
they will be required to fund the fee differential. Schools will
make available a desk space, PC along with a modest bursary
for travel, conferences and some limited materials.
Subject Area
Title of the Project
Water Quality, Bio-resource management, Water Policy
A mechanistic based analysis of carbon cycling in the surface
waters of peatland dominated catchments in Ireland
Project Abstract
The Water Framework Directive introduced a legal framework to protect and restore the aquatic
environment across Europe and ensure its long-term, sustainable use. In Ireland the current level
of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) leaking from streams draining peaty soils has shown a marked
increase compared to values recorded in the 1990s. It is known that DOC is now the main driver
of forest-mediated acidification. This is leading to a deterioration in water quality in many
streams and has consequences for salmonid fisheries, macroinvertebrate communities and
human health through the formation of carcinogenic tri-halomethanes in water treatment plants.
The loss of peatland soil carbon to surface waters also has implications in the context of
controlling the overall carbon budget for Ireland and in meeting the EU emission targets (EPA,
2015). This project seeks to investigate the mechanisms of dissolved carbon transport and loses
in the surface waters of Irish peatland dominated catchments. The chemical composition and
source of DOC under various land uses will be determined. The spatial and temporal dynamics of
DOC and its interaction with sulphate, nitrogen, phosphate and aluminium will be evaluated. The
purpose of this work is to collect data and develop an understanding of system dynamics and
carbon propagation pathways that will enable the development of cost effective programmes of
measures for inclusion in River Basin Management Plans.
Student requirements for this project
Minimum Required: Primary Degree, 2.1 / Upper Second Class Honours or higher in, Life Science,
Natural Sciences, Environmental Science, Biological Science, Organic Chemistry or equivalent.
Desirable: Masters degree (MSc, MPhil, etc.) in, Environmental Sustainability, Environmental
Science, Biogeochemistry & Hydrology or equivalent - Field and laboratory skills in DOC sampling
and analysis.
Deadline to submit
Closing date for Applications: 1st September 2015
Interested applicants should submit a CV & letter of application through the online application
system available at

College of Engineering and Built Environment PhD Scholarship