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Towards Net Zero in the Water Industry Sandpit

January 2024

C-DICE is offering the opportunity to participate in a research sandpit, with up to £30k of funding available for postdoctoral researchers who wish to develop solutions to support the water and sewage industry in becoming more sustainable and resilient, with positive outcomes for the environment. 

About the research topic

Meeting the Challenges of Achieving Net Zero and Sustainability in the UK Water Industry  

The UK water and sewage industry faces many challenges enroute to achieving Net Zero while it must also simultaneously adapt to the substantial impacts of climate change on water and sewage service provision.  Moreover, the industry is already confronting existing challenges that require increased capital investment to better meet environmental and regulatory obligations, while facing substantially higher financing costs.  Given these challenging circumstances and constraints, this sandpit is looking for researchers with the ideas and vision to develop solutions, both small and large, to support the water and sewage industry in becoming more sustainable and resilient, with positive outcomes for the environment.  

Examples of priority issues and possible sandpit themes include, but are not limited to : 

  • Water and Sewage industry requirements to reach net zero – defining the problem better 
  • Nature Based Solutions  
  • Holistic approaches to the large issues facing water and wastewater services.  
  • The challenges of combined sewer systems, and overflows 
  • (Re)optimising water and/or sewage systems to cost effectively meet both environmental and net zero obligations.  
  • Proactive approaches to the potable water leakage challenges (not just find-and-fix) 
  • How to reach net zero in a constrained environment. 
  • Issues arising from governance, both formal (legislation, regulation, code & standards, taxation & incentives) and informal (e.g., societal attitudes & behaviours, societal norms, industry practice norms). 
  • An ‘all consequences’ approach – avoiding adverse consequences in the move to net zero 

Sandpit Session Dates

Sessions and mode of deliveryDateTime
Session 1 (in person, at Cranfield University)25 January 202410:00-17:00
Session 2 (in person, at Cranfield University)26 January 20249:00-16:00
Review group work9 February 2024TBD by your group
Pre-sandpit events for all applicants 
Writing Letters of Support Webinar30 January 202412:30-13:15
Budgeting Workshop (online,
optional but strongly recommended)
7 February 202410:00-12:00
Workshop on EDI (online,
optional but strongly recommended)
14 February 202410:00-12:00
Post sandpit events for teams 
Funding proposal submission deadline18 March 202412:00
Presentation of proposal27 March 202410:00-12:00
(C-DICE reserves the right to make changes to the programme due to circumstance beyond its control)

Participants are expected to attend sessions 1 and 2 in-person at Cranfield University campus.

Applications Closed