PhD Studentship, Institute of Sound and Vibration Research

Southampton, United Kingdom
£15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years
20 Jan 2022
End of advertisement period
31 Mar 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Institute of Sound & Vibration Research

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Thursday 31 March 2022
Reference:  1669122DA

Supervisory Team:    J M Muggleton & M Kalkowski

Project description

Would you like to make a difference in protecting one of earth's most essential resources - water? Would you like to help the UK eliminate leakage-related water loss? A 3.5-year fully-funded PhD post is available to work on developing contact underground sound guides to free leak detection from closely spaced access point limitations.

Leakage from pipes is a significant issue in the water industry, both in environmental and economic and health terms. The UK is determined to tackle this problem and recently set up the Zero Leakage 2050 initiative. Conventional acoustic leak detection methods require relatively closely spaced access points (e.g. hydrants) for attaching sensors. This critical limitation could be circumvented by developing a sound-guiding technique based on fine metal rods inserted into the ground to the point of contact with the pipeline. Low cost and straightforward deployment make this method hugely attractive for the leak detection industry.

This PhD position focuses on laying theoretical foundations and developing practical recommendations for the sound guide-enhanced leak detection. You will work uncover the physics of waves across interfaces and propose suitable signal processing to optimise detection performance as well as addressing practical implementation issues. The project will help you develop a unique skillset in physics, mechanics, sensing, processing, and experimentation while making a meaningful impact in a timely subject area. 

You will work in the Dynamics Group of the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at Southampton. ISVR has been at the forefront of leak detection research for decades and shows a steady grant and industrial contracts income in this area. You will be a part of the Sustainable Infrastructure and Cities Centre for Doctoral Training which includes multi-disciplinary researchers from across the entire faculty. The experimental work will be conducted at ISVR labs, the Future Towns Innovation Hub at Chilworth Science Park, and live industrial test sites.

The project is funded by UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR), the water industry research procurement body in the UK.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Jen Muggleton, Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, Email:

 Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (ideally a 1st class honours degree, but at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent) in an engineering discipline, mathematics or physics.

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 March 2022, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

Non-UK students may apply; full funding may be available or a small top-up from the student may be required, depending on the calibre of the applicant

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD  Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Dr Jen Muggleton 

Applications should include

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Two reference letters
  • Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact:

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