Sustainable drainage to reduce Zika mosquito breed...

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Sustainable drainage to reduce Zika mosquito breeding, Brazil

Eligibility: UK/EU

Award Details: Bursary plus tuition fees - UK/EU only

Duration: Full-Time – 1 year fixed term

Application deadline: Jan 22nd 2018 (4pm)

Informal enquiries are essential before application; contact Professor Sue Charlesworth to discuss this opportunity.

As an ambitious and innovative University, we’re investing an initial £100m into our new research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’. Through original approaches from world-leading experts, we’re aiming for our research to make a tangible difference to the way we live. As a research student you are an integral part of Coventry’s lively and diverse research community and contribute to our reputation for excellence. With our exceptional facilities and superb support mechanisms you are afforded every opportunity for academic success.

The Project

The zika virus, carried by a mosquito, has resulted in increased reported incidences of microcephaly (abnormally small heads) in newborn babies in Brazil. In the short term, spraying with insecticide can reduce mosquito populations, but this is not a long term solution. It is proposed that there is a relationship between microcephaly, and inadequate provision of potable supplies, drainage and sanitation.

This project will collect data focused on a case study area in the NE of the country (Ceará) where there have been many cases of microcephaly. The investigation includes the provision of a safe and secure supply of potable water, sanitation, sustainable management of stormwater, the safe disposal of greywater and rainwater harvesting. These approaches will reduce access for the mosquito to where it would normally breed, in drinking water stored in containers, in the puddles after a storm or in greywater thrown into the street. The data collected will then inform a GIS database whose impact will be to support recommendations to National and State governments on the prioritisation of public works in terms of the investment required. It will also enable the design of an appropriate Sustainable Drainage management train and maximize the efficacy of new investments in water supply nets and sustainable water management.

About the Centre/Department

The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) is driving innovative, transdisciplinary research on the understanding and development of resilient food and water systems internationally.

The Centre’s research develops and integrates new knowledge in social, agroecological, hydrological and environmental processes, as well as the pivotal role that communities play in developing resilience. Unique to this Centre is the incorporation of citizen-generated knowledge in transdisciplinary research, using holistic approaches which cross many disciplinary boundaries. CAWR also aims to advance resilience science through creative work on a new generation of key issues linked to the governance of food systems, hydrological change, urban water, river processes, water quality and emerging pollutants.

Successful Applicants

Successful applicants will have:

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with  a minimum 60% overall module average.
  • In the event of a first degree classification of less than 2:1, a Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at minimum merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at minimum merit level (60%) or
  • a taught Masters degree in a relevant discipline, involving a dissertation of standard length written in English in the relevant subject area with a minimum of a merit profile: 60% overall module average and a minimum of a 60% dissertation mark, PLUS
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the MRes within a one-year period of study
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)


  • knowledge and/or experience in the subject
  • a good knowledge of physical geography, GIS, environmental science
  • modelling or analytical experience, experience of working in the field in challenging environments would be useful  
  • experience of (or a willingness to quickly learn) about Sustainable Drainage Systems, disease vectors, informal settlements.

Eligibility & Application Procedure


All UK/EU students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found making an application page.