Research opportunities

Explore some of the research opportunities associated with the Water Research Institute.

We are seeking to appoint a highly motivated and creative researcher, to help operationalize the vision of this newly launched Research Institute.

Details and eligibility

The Institute Manager will work closely with the Water URI Directorate and staff, and play a key role in sustaining the vision of the Water URI community, finding creative ideas to maximise the URI performance and modelling future business to ensure that the Water URI becomes and remains competitive within the market. The Institute Manager will work with the Water URI staff and Directorship to ensure successful delivery of the multi-disciplinary URI priorities, thus playing a central role in developing long term strategies, supporting research activities, initiating and developing partnerships and maintaining oversight of resultant projects and Institute initiatives.


The deadline for applications is Saturday, 26 November 2016.

More information

Visit our jobs pages for application information.

The specific aim of the Innovation Projects Open Call is to increase and accelerate the uptake and impact of NERC funded research outputs by supporting translational and knowledge exchange activity which delivers direct tangible and demonstrable benefits to end users, particularly businesses.


Funds will be used to support projects which focus upon generating user applicable outputs from past and/or current NERC supported research and which translates them into outcomes that achieve impact.

Since the strength of the relationship between end-users and researchers is often what underpins the likelihood of success of any translational and knowledge exchange activity, it is essential that end-users are involved in both the development and delivery of proposals.

This call includes two directed opportunities for innovation projects focussing on soil security and water risks to global food supply chains, ecosystems and communities. Please see the below annexes for more information.

The Innovation Projects Open Call will not fund commercialisation work (please see the Follow on Fund) or research (please see other NERC funding).

Project proposals submitted in this round may run for up to 24 months. A maximum of £125,000 (£100,000 at 80% FEC) may be requested.


Applications submitted to the Innovation Projects Open Call and the 'soil security' directed element must be based on previous NERC funded research. Please note that applications submitted to the 'water risks' directed element do not necessarily have to be based on previous NERC funded research.

The Innovation Projects Call is open to applicants based in:

UK higher education institutions (HEIs)
NERC research centres
independent research organisations (IROs) approved by NERC.


All Innovation Project Call projects must involve project partners/end-users.

Private, public and third sector organisations or institutions are eligible as project partners in the Innovation Projects call. However, the stability of the organisation and, if appropriate, the commitment of funds (or in-kind contribution) should be guaranteed for the duration of the proposed activity.

Research council institutes and HEIs are not eligible as project partners.

Independent research organisations are eligible to apply as the research partner, or may act as a project partner if end-user status can be demonstrated.

Successful innovation projects require strong user engagement in establishing and conducting project activity, and providing evidence to this effect is essential.


Applications to the Innovation Projects call should be submitted through the Je-S system link using the following route:

Council: NERC
Document Type: Standard Proposal
Scheme: Innovation
Call/Type Mode: Innovation Projects SEP 2016

More information

Find out more and view the documents related to this projects call.

Alternatively, please contact:

Lizzie Hinchcliffe
01793 411940

This internship looks at the determination of the nature and origins of riverine phosphorus in catchments underlain by Upper Greensand.

Internship details

The aim of this studentship is to investigate P distribution and character in a range of cores collected from representative areas of the UGS, using high resolution advanced chemical and mineralogical approaches to:

  • identify the natural mineralogical sources of P (primary apatite) in the UGS; determine the rate at which soluble P fractions are released from primary apatite under natural weathering rates
  • distinguish these primary apatite from secondary apatite formed within the UGS in the presence of anthropogenically derived P, and soluble P in porewater derived from anthropogenic sources
  • calculate the background P concentration arising from natural P sources in the UGS.

The student will use advanced techniques including SEM and SEM-EDS approaches to explore the distribution of P within rock samples extracted from the UGS to map its density and distribution in rock slices extracted at different depths from intact cores, augmented with EPMA or synchrotron-XRF where higher resolution is needed. The student will also adopt a multi-isotope approach to distinguish primary from secondary apatite in the UGS. This relies on the different isotopic composition of ?18O-PO4 relative to source type, where, in the absence of biological activity approximate to the source composition but in the presence of biological metabolism, move towards equilibrium with the 18O-H2O and away from the source value.

The studentship represents a unique opportunity to work at the cutting edge of sedimentary and biogeochemical research, working directly with stakeholder organisations interested in the outcomes of the programme. It is funded by Wessex Water, in partnership with the Environment Agency and Natural England, and would be based at the University of Bristol, supervised by Professor Penny Johnes and Dr Heather Buss, together with Dr Daren Gooddy, British Geological Survey.

The studentship is open to UK or EU students.


For further details please contact:

Professor Penny Johnes
Phone: +44 (0)117 928 8273.

This postdoctoral fellowship scheme is aimed at expanding Wales’ research capacity by attracting and developing the next generation of talented researchers in Wales. The scheme is backed by nearly £23m of European funds and £16m from the Welsh Government.

Internship details

The Scheme will support up to 30 fellows to work at universities across Wales. The fellowships provide a three-year fixed-term postdoctoral level appointment, and are aimed at excellent candidates from anywhere in the world to come to work in Wales. The fellowships are open to research in the three pillars of Science for Wales (Life Sciences and Health; Low Carbon, Energy and the Environment; and Advanced Engineering and Materials). The proposed research needs to have a clear applied focus on Wales.

The call requires an applicant to approach a potential supervisor at a Welsh university and to seek their support as host and supervisor for their individual fellowship application.

Project topics

The Water Research Institute is open to applications from outstanding post-doctoral candidates in the following areas:

  • People and Ecosystems
  • Smart Waters
  • Global Change


If you are interested in applying for a Sêr Cymru II Fellowship at the Water Research Institute in these areas, please contact Hannah Weaver, Manager at

Sêr Cymru II Fellowship application form