Independent Research Investigators

NUAcT: Water Security

Global water security – ensuring a reliable and acceptable quantity and quality of water, and managing water-related risks for all – is foundational to sustainable development.  Water is essential for human life and underpins food and energy security, health and well-being, and prosperous economies. Some 80% of the world's population live in areas with threats to water security. Between 1990-2015 more than 1.6m people died, and 5.5bn people were affected by water disasters. Today, some 61% of the world’s population still do not have access to improved basic sanitation and 28% do not have safe drinking water, resulting in over half a million deaths globally every  year due to waterborne disease. 

 To address the global water security challenge, we are bringing together academics from across Newcastle and other world leading universities to lead the £20M Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub. The GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund which harnesses expertise of the UK’s world-leading researchers to promote the dignity and prosperity for some of the most disadvantaged and hardest to reach people on our planet.

 Our research extends from developing sanitation systems to improve water and environmental quality for the most vulnerable communities; to analysing regulations and governance structures; and to the social and cultural significance of water. We aspire to pioneer biological, environmental and digital technologies for global application, bringing the water sector into the 4th industrial revolution. This includes not only leadership of the GCRF Hub, but also unique research facilities such as the National Green Infrastructure Facility, the Biological Engineering: Wastewater Innovation at Scale (the largest research facility of its kind in Europe), and the Newcastle Urban Observatory, the world’s largest real-time open urban sensing network.

 Who can apply?

We seek applicants who have the potential to develop into independent research investigators. You must have a relevant PhD (or equivalent) and postdoctoral experience, a track record of high quality research, and be aspiring to apply for externally funded fellowships or other major grant awards. You will also have experience or demonstrable interest in research in an international context relevant to the GCRF Water Security Hub’s remit.

 We will appoint somebody with a background relevant to issues such as flood or drought risk management, water treatment, sanitation, public health, water conflicts. Your background could be in any relevant discipline, including but not limited to hydrology, hydrogeology, hydraulics, environmental engineering, informatics, earth observation, anthropology, economics, planning and politics. 

 You will join a large community of water-researchers that span all three faculties of the University and be comfortable working as part of a multidisciplinary team with a strong focus on achieving research impact.

 What does the NUAcT programme offer?

  • Five years' salary
  • Initial fixed term appointment with progression to an open-ended contract subject to formal review
  • Start-up costs and ongoing research expenses (up to £50k, subject to research programme needs)
  • Funding for a PhD student associated with the research project
  • Dedicated mentors with significant research management experience
  • The opportunity to join and participate in our world-class research centres
  • Extensive training opportunities including a bespoke personal development plan
  • Peer support from a cross-disciplinary cohort of talented early career researchers
  • Support for mobility to work with external partners, including outside the UK and academia
  • Additional provision for career breaks and career break returners, full flexibility to incorporate job share and less-than-full-time working, and funds to overcome potential barriers to career development associated with protected characteristic

For further information about this opportunity contact Professor Richard Dawson,

In case you are thinking to structure it around ISIE themes or want to know more about Newcastle do feel free to talk to me-

  • NUAcT: Water Security
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