Determining the fate and impact of cleaning chemicals in on site sanitation facilities - PhD Studentship

Cranfield University

Start Date: ASAP
Duration of award: 3 years 


Frederic Coulon – Professor in Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology
Sean Tyrrel – Professor of Bioaerosol Science

Sponsored by Unilever Plc, this studentship will provide a bursary of £18,000 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* for three years

This PhD involves the investigation of the effect of cleaning chemicals on the functioning of biological systems used for on-site sanitation, such as pit latrines and their fate within these systems.

The project will involve laboratory-based studies of anaerobic and aerobic batch systems, investigating effects of different toilet cleaning chemicals on the microbial communities within faecal sludge, and the impacts on its degradation.

Further details of the research include:

  • Development of laboratory-based methods for assessing the impacts of cleaning chemicals at varying concentrations on pit latrine contents using batch and semi-continuous fermentation approaches.
  • DNA sequencing to assess the impact of cleaning chemicals on the microbiological communities responsible for faecal sludge degradation.
  • Development of a model to simulate chemical degradation processes in pit systems to inform environmental fate assessments. 

The student will be based at Cranfield University in the Cranfield Water Science Institute. As a part of working in this industrially sponsored project, the student will work in close collaboration with Unilever. He/she will need to present their research findings regularly to the project team.

Entry requirements:
Applicants should have a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as microbiology, chemistry or environmental engineering. The ideal candidate should have some understanding in an area such as microbial ecology or biochemistry, and some experience or knowledge of the context of faecal sludge management and sanitation in developing countries would be advantageous. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stakeholders, with an interest in applied research.

 To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK or EU national. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions or applicant has “settled status” and has been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to start of studies and has not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals). 

How to apply:
For further information please contact: Prof. Frederic Coulon, E:, or Prof Sean Tyrrel, E: ; T: (0) 1234 750111 Ext: 4981

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form

For further information contact us today:

School of Water, Energy and Environment
T: 44 (0)1234 758008

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



South East England