Parsons Brinckerhoff invests in UK research and helps fund new ‘masters’ course at Strathclyde University

Posted: Wednesday 29th September 2010

Parsons Brinckerhoff is investing in the future of UK research by helping fund a masters degree course in environmental and engineering research at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. The innovative move is intended to attract talented science graduates into industry at a time when funding for masters degree courses is falling.

The one year Masters by Research (MRes) course is a stand-alone postgraduate degree. It will be run by the David Livingstone Centre for Sustainability, part of Strathclyde’s Department of Civil Engineering whose head is Professor Bob Kalin.

Parsons Brinckerhoff is funding 10 of the student places and will primarily focus their activities on research related to the contaminated land and civil engineering fields including environmental forensics, innovative remediation of soil and water, sustainability and innovative site assessment techniques. The latter will include advances in ecological and human health risk assessment.

The area offers exciting career opportunities for environmental scientists, particularly following the recent introduction of the European Directive on Environmental Liability which has brought with it a new criminal offence for the most serious cases of environmental harm.

This new legislation is putting environmental damage in the spotlight. Driven by the ‘polluter pays’ principal it is anticipated many industrial operators and landowners will be encouraged by it to re-assess their liabilities for potential environmental damage and develop cost-effective remedial solutions.

Opportunities will also be available for the Parsons Brinckerhoff-funded students to focus their research activities on other areas of the international consultancy’s operations such as climate change adaption, sustainability and other areas of engineering.

Commenting on the launch of the research degree, Andrew Limage, Head of Environment for Parsons Brinckerhoff in the UK, said: “This represents a tremendous opportunity to develop the scientists of tomorrow by providing the incentive of exciting research and a potential career for the brightest students. It also demonstrates our strong willingness to invest in the future of UK research which will bring tremendous benefits to the industry overall.”

Each student will be provided with an outline for a research topic from which he/she will develop the ideas and present them to the team mentoring and guiding the research. Parsons Brinckerhoff will provide mentors for the duration of the project and will also engage in technical discussions to ensure the direction of the research is compatible with today’s requirements in industry. This support will also involve the students working for the company during holidays and gaining a more complete understanding of how consultancies function.

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