PhD Opportunity: Doctoral Research Assistantship - Cyberinfrastructure for Intelligent Water Supply at Utah State University

Utah State University

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Utah Water Research Laboratory

Doctoral Research Assistantship - Cyberinfrastructure for Intelligent Water Supply

A doctoral research assistantship is available starting Spring 2018 for a PhD student to help develop a new research program called Cyberinfrastructure for Intelligent Water Supply (CIWS) under support from the National Science Foundation. We are quickly moving to a new paradigm where precise accounting and management of water consumption is necessary for a sustainable water future. This is particularly true in the western U.S., where populations are growing, water supplies are over-allocated between human and environmental uses, and multiple states are already deep in the crisis of prolonged drought. Providing access to clean water and improving urban water infrastructure are critical societal functions that will be increasingly difficult to sustain without significant technological advances. CIWS aims to use “smart” metering technology, cyberinfrastructure, and residential water studies to close critical gaps in our understanding of and our ability to quantify water use behavior at the household and water system level. We aim to generate new understanding of how water use behavior varies across socio-demographic groups and neighborhood types, the timing of water demand, and how water consumers may change their behavior given detailed information about their water use. This information is critical in identifying opportunities for conservation, forecasting demand, and determining how water use patterns may change in response to population growth, demographic shifts, and technology improvements.

Specific areas of study for this position may include:

  • Development of “smart” metering devices for high resolution data collection on commercial and residential water meters
  • Conducting field studies and data collection to quantify the timing and quantity of residential and commercial water use
  • Investigation of water end use disaggregation algorithms
  • Development of advanced cyberinfrastructure to support “shrinking” Big Data produced by a network of smart meters
  • Investigation of how water use behavior changes based on feedback and enhanced information presentation from smart metering devices

This assistantship will include a monthly stipend and full tuition support and will be awarded through the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Utah Water Research Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Jeffery Horsburgh. Applicants must apply for admission through the USU graduate school Prospective students should have a background in engineering, hydrology, water resources, computer science, or a closely related field. Priority will be given to candidates with experience or strong interest in computer programming; data collection using water meters, sensors, and logging technologies; and/or CI development. For more information on the application process, contact Dr. Jeff Horsburgh at In addition to the graduate school application procedure, interested students should email a current curriculum vitae and one page statement of research interests to as soon as possible.

Utah State University is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer and strongly encourages applicants from all backgrounds to apply. Utah State University is Utah’s flagship of higher education and research in the areas of water, natural resources, and the environment. Both USU and the Utah Water Research Laboratory are situated in Logan, Utah in the heart of scenic Cache Valley, approximately 80 miles north of Salt Lake City and known for world class skiing, hiking, cycling, and other year-round outdoor activities.