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European Geosciences Union

PhD in the design and performance of materials for subsurface drainage systems in agriculture

PhD in the design and performance of materials for subsurface drainage systems in agriculture


NUI Galway / Teagasc

This is a Teagasc Walsh Fellowship. The student will be based in Fermoy, Co. Cork, Rep of Ireland, but will be registered at NUI Galway (under the supervision of Dr Mark Healy).


Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland


Relevant divisions
Energy, Resources and the Environment (ERE)
Hydrological Sciences (HS)
Soil System Sciences (SSS)

Full time

Student / Graduate / Internship

22000 € / Year, including University fees (approx €6000) and stipend

Preferred education

Application deadline
8 January 2018

29 November 2017

Job description

The performance of in-field drainage systems is dictated by the hydraulic capacity of the soil within their catchment, their engineered design and arrangement and their constituent materials. The working life of land drainage systems is largely dependent on the quality and suitability of the materials used in the in-field drains. Generally, these drains consist of a pipe and an envelope material. In-field drains have to satisfy the often conflicting requirements for favourable water flow and the retention of soil particles and their functionality is often reduced due to mechanical and biochemical blockages of the drain pipe or the envelope material. The range of materials available in terms of pipe and pipe envelopes does not easily fit into any standard classification, and many different combinations of both are in use. The pipe acts as a conduit for the flow of water while the envelope fulfils a number of purposes, mainly: as a hydraulic medium, as a filter for soil particles, and as bedding for the pipe. A range of drainage pipe types are available on the market with a range of purported uses and benefits. An even broader range of envelope materials, from locally sourced material to product from a multitude of quarries and merchants, are in use with variations in material type and grade. There is little or no guidance regarding the performance of these materials. While some are effective, many others are at fault for impaired capacity, ineffectiveness and failure of drainage systems. An assessment of the performance of a range of pipe types/sizes in combination with a range of envelope materials would provide guidance on their effectiveness and appropriateness. Furthermore, iron ochre deposits are a widespread cause of blockages in drainage systems. Methods of reducing and removing these would increase the effectiveness of land drainage in iron-rich soils. The study will also have scope for assessing the nutrient attenuation capacity of drain envelope materials, while the performance of alternative envelope materials will also be evaluated to assess their potential to offset the cost associated with conventional materials.

Applications are invited from graduates holding a first or upper second-class primary degree or equivalent or M.Sc. in a relevant discipline (Civil Engineering, Environmental Science, Material Science, etc.). The successful candidate should be practically minded and self-motivated. A full EU driving licence is required.

The PhD Fellowship is a joint research project between the Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark and Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). The student will be based at Teagasc Moorepark and will be registered at NUIG, working under the supervision of Drs Pat Tuohy, Owen Fenton (Teagasc) and Dr Mark Healy (NUIG). The Fellowship provides an annual stipend of €22,000. University fees are paid by the student from this stipend, which is tenable for 4 years.

Further Information/Applications
Dr Pat Tuohy, Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland; Phone +353 (0)25 42366; email:
Dr Mark Healy, Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Informatics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway; Phone +353 (0)91 495364; email:

Application Procedure
Applicants should submit a CV and covering letter detailing their qualifications and experience to Pat Tuohy ( and Mark Healy (

Closing date
Monday, Jan. 8th 2018