School of GeoSciences

IMVUL - Towards Improved Aquifer Vulnerability Assessment

IMVUL is a European Union Framework 7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network lead by Leeds University. IMVUL comprises 8 partners throughout Europe and the network's aim is to train researchers in the major issues, scientific challenges and operational problems of groundwater vulnerability through individual research.

The Edinburgh network leader is Dr Stephen Elphick. The research topic of Geomicrobiology is lead by Dr Bryne Ngwenya, and the research topic of Geochemical Sensor Applications is lead by Dr Ian Butler. The Associated Contributing Partners from the British Geological Survey are Dr Derek Ball and Dr Alan MacDonald.

PhD and postdoctoral positions at Edinburgh are available for start dates on or after 1st October 2008.

Topic Area: Geomicrobiology – Dr Bryne Ngwenya
PhD Position (3 years): Microbial controls on fluid flow and contaminant speciation in dual porosity media.
Supervisors: Dr Bryne Ngwenya, Dr Ian Butler, Dr Stephen Elphick.

You will conduct laboratory experiments investigating the influence of microbial activity and biofilm distribution on hydraulic properties, contaminant speciation, and bio-availability in dual porosity media characteristic of potable water aquifers. You will have a background in geochemistry, chemistry, environmental chemistry, geomicrobiology with interest in experiments.

Topic Area: Geochemical Sensor Applications – Dr Ian Butler
Posdoctoral Research Assistant (2 years): In-situ and real time monitoring of fluid flow and contaminant speciation during biogeochemical and reactive flow experimentation.
Supervisors: Dr Ian Butler, Dr Bryne Ngwenya, Dr Stephen Elphick.

This project will involve the application of chemical and physical sensors for in-situ measurement and monitoring of biogeochemical processes in microbially colonised column and sandbox flow experiments pertinent to aquifer vulnerability studies. A PhD or equivalent in geochemistry, environmental chemistry, geomicrobiology or analytical electrochemistry is essential, together with experience of practical laboratory science.

The University of Edinburgh and BGS activities in IMVUL contribute to the ECOSSE thematic area of Water Systems. ECOSSE is the Edinburgh Collaborative of Subsurface Science and Engineering, part of the Edinburgh Research Partnership.


IMVUL is a network of 8 partners throughout Europe (UK, Israel, France, Spain, Italy, Norway) whose aim is to train early stage researchers in major issues and scientific challenges of groundwater vulnerability through individual research. The network will employ a total of 15 researchers (PhD students and postdoctoral researchers) conducting research related to groundwater vulnerability issues. The network has close links with the water industry in the partner countries through industrial partners who will play an active role in network activities. In addition to the network’s research projects, a series of summer schools and workshops, field trips and meetings will be held providing network researchers with training in groundwater vulnerability issues and opportunities for interaction with other network partners and researchers.