Project code



School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Start dates

February and October

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part-time PhD project, to commence in October or February.

The PhD will be based in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying and will be supervised by Dr Steve Mitchell, Professor John Williams and Dr Mohammed Ali.

Increased pollutants in drainage water caused by human activities and industrialization need much tighter controls, especially in the light of global climate change and increased rainfall intensities. Therefore, prediction of the physical transport and mixing of pollutants or other soluble material is crucial for effective drainage management. One of the more recent and most important areas of research interest is the effect of vegetation on mixing processes in stormwater detention ponds, which are a type of sustainable drainage scheme (SuDS). Vegetation has a significant impact on the hydraulic behaviour, flow structure, and pollutant transport of open pond systems. The existence of vegetation within the flow domain tends to increase the hydraulic resistance via turbulence and drag. Turbulence increases mixing within the watercourse, thereby influencing the conveyance routes of contaminants and suspended solids in the water.

While it is known that the arrangement of vegetation is very effective in changing the turbulence pattern, the capacity of flow, and pollutant transport, there is limited information on the techniques to optimise these factors. Many studies have been conducted to investigate the effect of regular arrangement of vegetation (tandem and stagger arrangement), but vegetation is not uniformly distributed in stormwater retention ponds; random and patch arrangement is more common. 3D mixing characteristics within regular, random and patch arrangement of vegetation have remained unclear, and this hampers our ability to provide design guidance for developers tasked with providing infrastructure for roads and housing. More and better studies are required to compare different stem arrangements, diameters, distances and solid volume fractions. Since this is an area that has received relatively little attention to date, this PhD proposal aims to examine the capability of the 3D RSM turbulence model using ANSYS Fluent for simulating the flow field and pollutant transport in a vegetated SuDS pond.

Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry Requirements

  • You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering or a related area
  • In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0

We’d welcome candidates with experience of using numerical models in hydrodynamic processes or similar.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Steve Mitchell ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code ACES4500219.