Partnerships Office

Current ICase PhD Student Vacancies

UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD

PhD Title: In the belief that a quantifiable link exists between organisational/ business and end user value and the built environment, how can this be measured and benchmarked, and what would be required to achieve this in the modern workplace?

The studentship is supported by the University of Salford and iSite.

Academic Supervisor: Professor Jason Underwood

Academic Co-Supervisor: Dr Mark Shelbourn

Industrial Supervisor: Graham Thwaites/Graham Perry

The studentship is fully funded and includes:

  • A fee waiver
  • A stipend of £16,298 p.a. for three and a half years
  • All bench fees and consumable costs
  • Funds specifically allocated for conference travel

Final date for applications: 6th December 2017

Interviews will be held on: 20th December 2017

The candidate must be in a position to register by January 2nd 2018

Description:

An exciting and fully funded PhD studentship opportunity has arisen between the University of Salford and iSite.

There have been circa 70 government and industry reports published, since 1934 to date that have continually criticised the UK construction industry for its poor performance, low productivity, inefficiencies, adversarial behaviours, silo-disciplinary mindset, and lowest-cost and short term focus. Such reports have provided recommendations for improvements to the industry, in particular, to deliver better whole life value. In May 2011, the UK Government launched its Construction Strategy and, with this, a formal commitment to driving change through the digital transformation of the UK construction industry, with the primary driver being to address the issues of the UK deriving full value from centrally procured public sector Built Environment assets. In terms of better whole life value, this not only includes capital delivery, but also the operational management of built environment assets in delivering organisational/business value, and beyond to impact on social outcomes, e.g. end users. However, a key challenge towards deriving whole life value is determining the key aspects of the operational management of the physical built environment and the impact (in terms of value) during its operational use on business operations and end users of the physical built environment; in addition, establishing the link between them together with the formal metrics and methodology in order to benchmark and demonstrate the impact.

Our industrial collaborators - iSite - are award-winning experts in Big Data analytics that provide technology solutions for transforming analytics into Building Intelligence to drive down costs, increase value, and reduce risk of public and private property portfolios. iSite have developed a technology solution that would provide the basis for the storing and processing of a variety of Built Environment-related data. However, they would like to further enhance this by developing the ability to measure and evidence the value this can present to an organisation and their end users. Therefore, there is a need for an empirical study that provides the research rigour, for developing an assessment methodology together with demonstrating the impact of the operational management of the Built Environment on organisational/business and end user value.

The aim of this ICASE is to explore establishing a quantifiable link between organisational/business and end user value and the operational management of the Built Environment towards developing a generic assessment methodology/technique for measuring and benchmarking the associated impact. The aim will be achieved through the following objectives:

  1. Determine organisational/business and user value and its metrics and quantification in relation to the operational management of the Built Environment.
  2. Establish the key operational management Built Environment factors that impact on organisational/business and end user value.
  3. Establish a conceptual methodology/technique for measuring and benchmarking the impact of the operational management of the Built Environment on organisational/business and end user value.
  4. Determine the scope for the focus on organisational/business and end user value and operational management of the Built Environment.
  5. Determine the relationships between organisational/business and end user value and the operational management of the Built Environment in relation to the established scope.
  6. Develop a generic assessment methodology/technique for measuring and benchmarking the impact of the operational management of the Built Environment on organisational/business and end user value.
  7. Evaluate the generic assessment methodology/technique.

The following outcomes are expected by the end of the project:

  • A set of definitions for organisational/business and end user value and operational management of Built Environment assets.
  • A generic assessment methodology/technique that could be applied and aligned between the operational management of Built Environment assets and operational/business performance and end user value.
  • A library of generic industry metrics.
  • Evidenced-based case studies that demonstrate the influence of the operational management of Built Environments on operational/business performance and end user value.
  • A set of benchmarks that can accumulate the appropriate measures and be promoted as an industry standard.
  • Explore the effect of the Built Environment on the people that utilise it and the value that presents to an organisation/business.
  • Coalition between academia, industry, professional institutions and industry bodies to deliver industry-wide benefits.

Candidates:

The preferred candidate must have some understanding of digital construction, information management, and whole life value in the built environment. A background in facilities and operational asset management is also highly desirable, but not essential.

Candidates will hold a minimum of an upper 2nd class degree in a relevant subject area. Completion of a Master’s degree in a relevant subject area is desirable, but not essential.

Candidates are asked to provide a personal statement describing their background, skills, academic interests and their motivation for doing a PhD in no more than 2 sides of A4. This should include evidence of satisfying the above requirements along with being able to work independently to a high standard, collaborate with others, and excellent scientific writing skills.

Funding:   This studentship is only available to students with settled status in the UK, as classified by EPSRC eligibility. https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/eligibility/

Eligibility:Residence requirements

To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees) a student must have:

  • Settled status in the UK
  • Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant.
  • Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals)

Enquiries: Informal enquiries may be made to Professor Jason Underwood by email: j.underwood@salford.ac.uk

Curriculum vitae and supporting statement explaining their interest should be sent to m.watts@salford.ac.uk


UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD

PhD Title: Understanding transmission and control of Echinococcosis and other Taeniid infections in the Falkland Islands

The studentship is with University of Salford and Falkland Islands Government

Academic Supervisor: Prof Michael Rogan

Academic Co-Supervisor: Dr Alex Mastin

Industrial Supervisor: Dr Stephen Pointing

The studentship is fully funded and includes:

  • A fee waiver
  • A stipend of  £15,823.89 p.a. for three and a half years
  • All bench fees and consumable costs
  • Funds specifically allocated for international travel

Final date for applications: Friday 17th November 2017

Interviews will be held on: Friday 24th November 2017

The candidate must be in a position to register by 8th January 2018

Description:

A unique opportunity has arisen for a funded PhD studentship based on a partnership between The University of Salford and the Department of Natural Resources , Falkland Islands Government.

Hydatid disease or Cystic Echinococcosis (caused by the cestode parasite Echinococcus granulosus) is a significant zoonotic infection in many parts of the world and for many years was highly endemic in the Falkland Islands in both livestock and people. This prompted the instigation of an intensive control scheme in the mid-1960s, comprised of regular worming of domestic dogs with the anthelmintic praziquantel and education of local people about safe disposal of potentially infected offal. This scheme has remained in place to the current day, and is generally considered to be a successful programme. The prevalence of infection in sheep has reduced from over 50% in the 1950s to less than 1% now, and there has not been a case of human hydatid disease for more than 20 years. Control is currently based on adequate disposal of sheep livers and lungs at slaughter and compulsory dosing of all domestic dogs on the islands with praziquantel every five weeks. In spite of these control procedures there is concern that a small number of sheep and dogs throughout the islands continued to be found to be infected with E. granulosus, indicating that active transmission is still occurring. This is also supported by the observation that sheep continue to be infected with the (non-zoonotic) cestode Taenia hydatigena, which is transmitted by dogs in the same way as Echinococcus granulosus. The Falkland Islands Government is keen to bring about complete eradication of Echinococcus from the islands, and therefore needs to identify what gaps in control may exist so that this can be achieved. The Falkland Islands also provides a unique setting for an investigation of the effect of long-term cestode control schemes, due to their size, history of intensive control efforts, and geographical isolation.

The overall aim of the current project is to investigate the current patterns of taeniid cestode infection in dogs and sheep and identify reasons for their apparent persistence in the presence of an intensive, long-term control programme. The main objectives of the project would be:

  1. To quantify the levels of Echinococcus granulosus and other taeniid cestodes amongst domestic dogs and sheep in the Falkland Islands.
  2. To determine what factors may be contributing to the continued transmission of taeniid cestodes through evaluation of farming/slaughter practice; evaluating parasite egg survivability; evaluation of drug efficacy in dogs; and identification of additional potential hosts.
  3. To apply mathematical modelling techniques to:
    1. Quantify the rates of transmission of taeniid cestodes between domestic dogs and sheep.
    2. Investigate the stability of the transmission system under the current protocol.

In order to achieve these objectives, a multidisciplinary strategy will be used, comprising several studies with a focus on the use of:

  • Faecal diagnostics in dogs (coproAntigen, CoproPCR and egg microscopy).
  • HPLC and other separation techniques for measuring drug levels in dog serum.
  • Questionnaires to investigate farming practice and animal waste disposal.
  • Farm and abattoir visits to establish possible routes for animal infection.
  • Animal necropsy to establish possible reservoir hosts.
  • Use of statistical, mathematical, and computational methods to model transmission of infectious diseases.

The successful candidate would be expected to spend around 2-4 months per year in the Falkland Islands with the remainder of the time being spent on  work at Salford. For students who are already resident in the Falklands, it would be expected that around 6 months per year would be spent in Salford.

Candidates:

The Falkland Islands are a remote, sparsely-populated, self-sufficient, British overseas territory in the south-west Atlantic Ocean. Much of the work will involve interaction with the local community who are dependent on agriculture and sheep farming in particular. It is therefore essential that the successful candidate will be able to communicate effectively with the local population and to interact with community life. The candidate should also be able to work independently in remote, outdoor areas and ideally should have a clean driving license.

From a scientific perspective, candidates should have some experience in molecular biological techniques such as PCR and DNA sequencing, and of statistical analysis. Experience in HPLC and or epidemiological modelling would also be of benefit.

Candidates will hold a minimum of an upper 2nd class degree in a biological or veterinary science. Completion of a Master’s degree in a relevant subject area is desirable, but not essential.

Candidates are asked to provide a personal statement describing their background, skills, academic interests and their motivation for doing this PhD in no more than 2 sides of A4. This should include evidence of satisfying the above requirements along with being able to work independently to a high standard, collaborate with others, and excellent scientific writing skills.

For full details of student requirements and specification please visit: http://www.salford.ac.uk/ktp/industrial-case-studentships/vacancies

Funding Eligibility:

This studentship is only available to students with settled status in the UK, as classified by EPSRC eligibility.  Please visit: https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/eligibility/

Eligibility: Residence requirements

To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees) a student must:

  • Be a UK national or have Settled status in the UK (including the Falkland Islands)
  • Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK (including the Falkland Islands) for 3 years prior to the start of the grant.
  • Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals)

Enquiries: Informal enquiries may be made to Prof Michael Rogan by email: m.t.rogan@salford.ac.uk

Curriculum vitae and supporting statement explaining their interest should be sent to m.watts@salford.ac.uk


UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD

PhD Title: StockDNA: Combining molecular and acoustic approaches to improve pelagic stock assessment.

The studentship is with the University of Salford and CEFAS, in collaboration with the University of Bristol

Academic Supervisor: Prof. Stefano Mariani (Salford)

Academic Co-Supervisor: Dr Katherine Yates (Salford)

Industrial Supervisors: Dr Veronique Creach and Dr Jeroen van der Kooij (CEFAS)

Academic Collaborator: Dr Martin Genner (Bristol)

The studentship is supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and includes:

  • Postgraduate Fee cover
  • A Research Council standard rate stipend for four years
  • Generous bench fees and consumable costs
  • Funds specifically allocated for conference travel

Final date for applications: Friday, 8th December 2017

Interviews will be held on: sometime mid-January 2018

The candidate must be in a position to register by October 2018

Description:

The sustainable use of natural resources, such as fisheries stocks, depends on our ability to i) maintain population biomass at adequate levels, ii) understand distribution patterns and life cycles, and iii) ensure ecosystem health. All of this requires regular monitoring activities, some of which rely on examining fish catch records, while others are independent of fishing operations. Pelagic stocks can typically be investigated using hydroacoustics, yet sonar data cannot accurately identify fish species and composition, therefore acoustic data must be verified by carrying out trawling. Trawling, however, requires significant gear, personnel, time and financial investments, and the obtained catch composition is not always representative of the biological community, due to inter-specific variation in catchability.

Innovative monitoring methods should be able to reduce costs and effort, while providing monitoring agencies and fisheries organisations with accurate biological information. One such method that has received considerable attention in recent years is environmental DNA (eDNA), which is based on the notion that by simply sampling the water column, it is possible to retrieve traces of DNA belonging to the organisms present in the sampled water mass. The present project specifically aims to assess the efficacy of eDNA sampling as a tool complementary to acoustic surveying of pelagic fish stocks, in view of reducing/removing the need for trawling activities. The project also aims to develop statistical models of species presence and community composition by contrasting the performance of eDNA- and trawl-based predictive distribution models. The overall goal of "StockDNA" is to significantly reduce the costs and ecological impacts of monitoring activities and potentially revolutionising the way fishery-independent surveys are conducted.

The successful PhD candidate will possess at least a high 2.1 BSc honours degree in marine biology/ecology or similar, and ideally Master-level education. The project will require a broad understanding of fisheries science and basic knowledge of molecular tools currently employed in ecological analysis. The project offers unique opportunities to become proficient in a wide range of cutting-edge marine biodiversity assessment approaches, which will include the participation in sampling campaigns aboard the CEFAS Endeavour vessel, the molecular methods for eDNA analysis, and the complex computational approaches required to interpret, analyse and compare acoustic, trawling, metabarcoding and spatial data, in an interdisciplinary framework.

For further information on the research team, visit: www.marianilab.org

Information of Student Eligibility can be found here: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/documents/documents/termsconditionstraininggrants-pdf/

Enquiries: Informal enquiries may be made to Prof Stefano Mariani by email: s.mariani@salford.ac.uk

Curriculum vitae and a supporting statement explaining their interest should be sent to m.watts@salford.ac.uk