The University of Surrey, in collaboration with Costain Group Plc, is pleased to announce an exciting opportunity to join the Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability programme. As a researcher you will be primarily based with your industrial sponsor, Costain, for the majority of your time on the programme, which will give you valuable industry experience that you could not otherwise gain from a “traditional” PhD. You will benefit from a personalised programme of skills training and academic modules; input from academic and industrial supervisors and a generous living stipend.

Background and Description

Costain is recognised as one of the UK’s leading engineering solutions providers.  Their goal is to develop innovative- engineering based solutions across the UK’s energy, water and transportation infrastructures. Costain is committed to operating their business both sustainably and responsibly within the Rail, Highways, Power, Oil & Gas, Water and Nuclear sectors.

This project would contribute to Costain’s mission through the creation of a framework for the circular economy by looking for sustainable and innovative solutions that will help meet critical national needs whilst reducing environmental and cost impacts for Costain and their customers.

Circular economy has the potential to transform the industry through use of revolutionary material, business models and technologies. The focus of this project will be to identify key areas for Costain’s industry to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy and to develop trials to put these theories into practice. This will involve research on alternative materials, use of waste as resource, developing new business models and testing the power of accelerating & enabling technologies.

Person specification

  • Degree in Engineering
  • Passionate about innovation, sustainability and the environment
  • Previous work experience desirable
  • English proficiency
  • Expertise in computer science and/or engineering
  • Inquisitive nature
  • Ability to work independently
  • Technical skills needed – such as computer programming skills in Office
  • Strong communication skills are necessary and evidence of stakeholder engagement at all levels is required.


How to Apply

To apply for this project, please contact  Apply to the same e-mail address for an information pack which will include:

  • A Project Brief;
  • Information about the Centre for Environment and Sustainability;
  • Details of the Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability programme.


Key Dates and Information

This project is due to begin in October 2017. The successful candidate will be based in Maidenhead, Berkshire,UK.  The candidate will spend an initial 12 weeks in Guildford, UK undertaking intensive sustainability and personal development training.

The programme will run for four years.

The successful candidate will receive a generous stipend of £18,000 per annum throughout this time (with potential to increase to c. £20,000 per annum after two years). Stipends are usually tax-free and DPs will also benefit from an additional £500 p.a. allowance for attendance at conferences etc. In addition to this, full-time tuition fees (£4,195) will be covered at the current Home/EU rate for the duration of the programme. 

Overseas students applying for 2017 entry will need to provide self-funding to bridge the fees between Home/EU (£4,195) and Overseas fees (£20,000).  Please provide details in covering letter of application.

The deadline for applications is Thursday 21st September and Interviews for this post will take place in week of 25th September 2017.

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