Integrated water management solutions in an urban setting

Cost-benefit analysis of real-world sustainable drainage systems


An exciting opportunity to apply for a fully funded PhD position in the College of Arts, Technology and Environment, UWE Bristol. The studentship will be funded by Bristol City Council and UWE Bristol.

Ref: 2324-FEB-CATE01.

The expected start date of these studentships is 1 February 2024.

The closing date for applications is Thursday 21 December 2023.

Studentship details

The Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme (FCRIP) is part of the government’s National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England. Twenty-five local projects will demonstrate how practical innovation actions can improve resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.

Resilient Frome is one of the 25 projects within the programme and our project seeks to improve flood resilience across the Bristol Frome catchment by implementing sustainable solutions to land and water management. The project is testing three resilience actions, including “integrated water management solutions” which in the context of our project is focusing on retrofitting Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in urban environments. The research problem/challenge motivating the PhD is related to better understanding how to fully account for market and non-market costs and benefits of SuDS schemes. The aims of the PhD proposal are to:

  1. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of desk-based SuDS Retrofit cost-benefit analysis tools.
  2. Better understand the benefits and disbenefits of desked based SuDS feasibility assessments in comparison to ground based optioneering exercises.

Some areas we would like to be explored to meet these aims are:

  1. Compare desk-based feasibility software (e.g., SuDS Studio) outputs to what is delivered at construction. Comparison of actual implemented SuDS with type of SuDS opportunity identified by the SuDS feasibility software (SuDS Studio).
  2. Evaluate on the ground benefits achieved through the installation of retrofitting SuDS to the estimated benefits calculated at feasibility stage. For example, comparing estimated storage volume to actual storage volume achieved at implementation. How do site constraints, etc. impact on this.
  3. Compare actual delivery costs to a baseline cost produced using standardised cost rates and costs provided by feasibility software (SuDS Studio). Identify reasons for any differences.
  4. Assess the methodologies used to complete cost-benefit analysis as part of this project and undertake a comparison with other similar projects and critique tools used in this and other projects. For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email or

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Tom Meyrick ( or Professor Chad Staddon (


The studentship is available from 1 February 2024 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which will be £18,622 (2023/24) per annum.

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years (Home).


Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in either geography, environmental management, engineering, hydrology, economics or similar and a clear interest in market and non-market benefits of environmental schemes. This PhD studentship is eligible for UK applicants only.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted, use the reference number 2324-FEB-CATE01.

Supporting documentation: You will need to upload your research proposal, all your degree certificates and transcripts and a recognised English language qualification (if required).

References: You will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application.

Closing date

The closing date for applications is Thursday 21 December 2023.

Further information

It is expected that interviews will take place on 9 January 2024. If you have not heard from us by 12 January 2024, we thank you for your application but, on this occasion, you have not been successful.

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