Job Opportunity
Information on System Dynamics related opportunities

PhD Scholarship: Using systems thinking to capture community values of water in Malawi 

Project Details

The University of Strathclyde is offering a 3 year PhD scholarship covering Home/EU fees plus a stipend of approximately £14,777 per annum.

The aim of the research is to develop empirically informed models that represent community values of water in rural Malawi and community influence on the provision of the local water supply. The objective is to use these models to integrate the community values of people living in poverty into more inclusive public planning and multi-stakeholder decision making.

Achieving sustainable drinking water supply to the poor represents an on-going challenge in many regions of the world. Part of this challenge relates to the maintenance of water supply at community standpipes accessed by payment of a local tariff to a water seller for a bucket of water. Concerns have been raised about how much to charge the poor and how to maintain access to a reliable water supply with maintenance of piped systems and boreholes recognised as problematic. A key management reform in water supply witnessed in recent years has been the emergence of Water Users Associations (WUAs), as participatory management groups developed to involve local communities in water supply. The proposed research will apply systems thinking to explore community values of water and the role of WUAs in water supply.


The research will evaluate the most appropriate systems thinking methods that should be used to capture the perspective of community groups in Malawi with respect to water supply and develop a process for capturing, mapping and analysing these values. Not only will the output provide insight to inform public planning and decision-making, but also involvement in the process will provide the community groups with deeper understanding of the issues they face with respect to water supply and how their community groups can impact the system. Evidence will be drawn from two comparative case study communities in Chikwawa and Mulanje, rural Malawi. Access will be achieved through established contacts.

Application deadline

28th March 2019

How to apply

For more information about this position, please click here.

Contact Us

Informal inquiries to Professor Susan Howick [email protected]


or Dr Andrea Coulson [email protected]

 Edited by BB 03-07-19