Studentship opportunity

Water journeys: accessing safe drinking water in Tanzania

This studentship is funded by the ESRC through the Scottish Graduate School of the Social Sciences

Institution
University of Stirling
Pathway
Human Geography, Environment and Urban Planning
Mode of study

Full time / Part time

Application deadline
15 March 2019

Project details

Access to clean water is a basic human right; however, worldwide over 700 million people still lack access to a safe, reliable and sustainable supply of water. Target 6.1 of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) highlights the need to, ‘achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all’ by 2030. Global figures show gradual improvements in people’s access to safe water, however, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has lagged behind other regions. In Tanzania, only 50% of the population had access to basic water services in 2015 and there are still large spatial disparities in accessing clean water, with residents of rural areas and low-income urban areas being under-served compared to other residents. Consequently, there is a substantial disconnect between large-scale water access monitoring that occurs within the SDG framework and the reality of people’s everyday access to water in rural and low-income urban areas. This PhD will take an individual-centric approach to water access, by exploring the everyday realities of people (mainly women and children) accessing drinking water in Tanzania and connecting decision makers to these experiences by exploring ways to make SDG6.1 a reality by 2030 in Tanzania.

The overarching aim of this project is to critically explore both current and future spatio-temporal patterns of community access to safe drinking water in rural and urban low-income communities of Tanzania.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Use observation techniques, filmed walking interviews and creative methods in order to understand people’s experiences of accessing water over space and time;
  • Quantify the spatio-temporal changes in people’s water quality by analysing microbial contamination in household water samples;
  • Utilise participatory workshops with key stakeholders to predict future spatially-refined water access in rural and low-income urban Tanzania.

About the institution

At the University of Stirling, we believe that great ideas and ground-breaking research can transform our society and help redefine economic, social and cultural conditions across Scotland, the UK and internationally. Research is a critical aspect of our learning and teaching. As a postgraduate research student, you’ll be given an insight into that research – and will also earn the opportunity to make key research contributions of your own. You will be joining Stirling’s thriving postgraduate research community, the Stirling Graduate School, with access to resources and networking opportunities across the university and beyond. The student will be hosted in the ‘Healthy Environments: Sustainable Societies’ research group within the Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences. Here, we work on intractable global challenges (including air pollution, ecosystem restoration and marine plastics) that require interdisciplinary solutions.

Eligibility

Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria
  • A good first degree (at least 2:1), preferably with a geography/ social science component
  • Demonstrate an interest in, and knowledge of, water access in the developing world context
  • Be willing to undertake fieldwork in Tanzania during two or three fieldwork campaigns
  • A good grounding in experimental methods in geography/ social science, skills and experience in analysing qualitative and quantitative (including spatial) data, communication skills and a passion for interdisciplinary research.

Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here.

Award details

The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training.  This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process.  The programme will commence in October 2019.  It includes
  • an annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2019/20 rate £15,009 full-time)
  • fees at the standard Home rate
  • students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year

Other information

The supervision team is led by Dr. Heather Price at the University of Stirling, alongside Dr. Richard Quilliam (Stirling) and Dr. Emiliana Mwita (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania).

How to apply

  1. Applicants register on GradHub and fill out EO data (this is a requirement of the application process)
  2. Applicants download and complete the Word-based application form (download here)
  3. Applicants complete the GradHub application form and upload the prescribed list of required documentation to include:
  • Application form
  • Academic transcripts
  • References
  • CV

Selection process

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by 19th March 2019. Interviews will take place on 25th March 2019. All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission to a PhD programme within the University of Stirling.  Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant PhD programme after they are selected for funding.

Supervisor/Contact details

Name
Heather Price
Email
Heather.price@stir.ac.uk