Not “a man’s job”: profiling women postgraduate researchers and graduates in the School of Civil Engineering

Mariam Zaquot, PhD candidate

Supervisors: Professor Barbara Evans and Dr Dani Barrington

I am a first-year PhD student; my research addresses the delivery of equitable, affordable and sustainable WASH services to the urban poor. I am interested in particular about: breaking the silence about the importance of providing decent sanitation jobs in South Asia, appropriate cost estimation approaches of sanitation systems and the pro-poor and sustainable funding allocation of sanitation services. I believe these topics are crucial to achieving durable and effective sanitation services in fragile contexts.

I am a member of the Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering Research Group; in which I attend seminars and network with research staff and students. I am always encouraged by my mentors to share and discuss my research progress with practitioners and researchers from other fields, especially those in the social sciences, to deliver real-life and multi-disciplinary research. I also get to build my academic and professional network through collaboration with development agencies and other research institutions to tackle practical challenges. I have recently volunteered with WaterAid UK to study the challenges of sustainable management of large sanitation infrastructure in Bangladesh and I am about to submit a research paper from this empirical study. I first studied at Leeds as part of the MSc in WASH Engineering; you can read about my experiences conducting this research on the Leeds WASH Blog. I have also joined the CACTUS Research Team in two data collection visits in Bangladesh as well as interacted with MSc students and the teaching staff which is of great value to my future academic career prospects.

-September 2019


Claire Rosato-Scott, PhD candidate

Supervisors: Dr Dani Barrington and Professor Barbara Evans 

As I write this I have just about completed my first year as a PhD Candidate at Leeds. The time has flown by, yet somehow I have managed to figure out a research topic (emergency sanitation for children with urinary incontinence), passed my Transfer viva, and I’ve just submitted my first journal article for peer-review (I’m doing a PhD by publications). And how has it been? Well, for someone that never imagined they would do a PhD, it’s been … pretty great!

I’ve blogged about why I chose to do a Phd, at Leeds, and researching incontinence. I’ve also blogged about how I’ve found the transition to academia from working in the corporate world. In short, I want to contribute towards solving a real-world problem that I feel passionate about whilst working with an inspirational team, namely my ever-supportive supervisors Dr Dani Barrington and Professor Barbara Evans.

I have two years of exciting research ahead of me working with partners including Eclipse Experience, Oxfam and Save the Children, but with Leeds’ encouragement I am already contributing to the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. I’ve helped develop new tools to enable development and humanitarian professionals to create a supportive environment for people in low- and middle-income countries to manage their incontinence hygienically, safely, in privacy and with dignity. And I’ve presented at conferences to raise awareness about the provision of emergency sanitation for children aged five to 11. I’m building a strong foundation of knowledge and experiences that will prove to be invaluable for life after Leeds, but I’m not ready to leave yet!

-September 2019


Manal Elgallal, PhD graduate

I completed my PhD in water resources management and environmental engineering on the 19th of June 2017.

My doctoral study focused on applied research by performing the following activities: planning fieldwork activates and sampling campaigns; data analysis; using excel; environmental risk assessment; and quantitative microbial risk assessment with Monte Carlo simulations (QMRA-MC) to develop a spreadsheet-based model for evaluating alternative management strategies for wastewater reuse in agriculture in arid and semi-arid regions. If you’re interested, you can read my thesis online.

During my study, I wrote a paper that was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Agricultural Water Management in 2016, which is continuing to be cited. Also, I have a solid track record of presentation and discussions at different conferences in the UK, Canada and Australia.

Conducting PhD study help me to develop and improve my research skills and to become a researcher with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the challenges relating to the agricultural reuse of wastewater, together with an appreciation of the broader context of water, sanitation and health.

-September 2019


Are you a woman undertaking or graduated from a postgraduate research degree in School of Civil Engineering? We’d love to profile you, too! Send Dani an email: