PhD Studentships

University of Hull - Schools of Environmental, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Sullied Sediments: 3 EU Fully-funded PhD Studentship in Water and Sediment Pollution Remediation

Three PhD studentships are available in the Sullied Sediments Group that consists of toxicologists, engineers, environmental and analytical scientists within the School of Environmental Sciences and the School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, both part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering on the Hull University campus.

The student will be part of a European Union project involving members from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, and the UK. The aim of this team is to develop tools to assess sediments confidently and make decisions with regard to managing them. The project sits within an interdisciplinary partnership of scientific experts, regulators and water managers. This work will focus on sites in the North Sea Region’s Elbe, Humber and Scheldt river catchments.

The three PhD students based in Hull will be focus on:

1. Field sampling and analytical chemistry investigation of inland waterways sediments from the North Sea Region

Supervisors: Dr Will Mayes (Environmental Sciences), Dr Kevin Welham (Chemistry), Dr Paul Kay (University of Leeds), Prof. Jeanette Rotchell (Environmental Sciences)

This project will involve both water and sediment sampling, extraction of organic chemicals and analysis by GCMS and/or LCMSMS for identification and characterisation of the chemical species found within the samples. We will combine a review of existing data with sampling of sediments to improve our understanding of the presence, form and trends in accumulation of emerging and EU watch-list contaminants in a range of sediments. The project will work closely with European partners in sampling a range of environments and locations. Specific objectives will be to (1) identify spatial / temporal trends in emerging contaminant concentrations in sediments across the North Sea Region (2) develop protocols for measuring watch list chemicals (e.g. diclofenac, estradiol) in a range of sediment matrices; (3) consider potential environmental risks associated with presence of emerging contaminants on sediment management options (e.g. dredging, disposal, possible resource recovery).

2. Development of novel micro-particle technology for removal of environmental pollutants from waste sources.

Supervisors: Dr Andrew Boa (Chemistry), Prof. Nik Kapur (University of Leeds), Prof. Jeanette Rotchell (Environmental Sciences)

This project will investigate the application of novel micro-particle technology for the removal of EU ‘Watch List’ chemicals from waste water streams and river sediments. Application of the technology to the removal of phosphates may also be considered. The technology will be investigated first in batch systems in the lab, and then, with our industry collaborators, a prototype flow system will be designed and evaluated.

3. Changing citizen’s behavior – developing engagement tools for North Sea region use.

Supervisors: Prof .Mark Lorch (Science Communication), Prof. Nicole Pamme (Chemistry), Prof. Jeanette Rotchell (Environmental Sciences)

The first stage of the project will involve developing and testing of  ‘dip-stick’ style micro paper microfluidic analysis devices (microPADs) that will provide a colourimetric response to likely pollutants found in water courses. The devices need to be easy to use with a minimum amount of training. The second part of the project will involve testing the microPADs in the target environments and engaging with the public to initiate a citizen-science style investigation into pollution levels in water courses.

The successful candidate will join an internationally established research team in the areas of environmental analytical chemistry and lab-on-a-chip devices. The preferred start date is 1st January 2017. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project, applicants with a good BSc (1st or 2.1) or MSc degree in Chemistry or Environmental Sciences can all be considered. Knowledge of analytical chemistry would be of advantage. The Studentship will pay a stipend of £14,500 per annum (tax free) and the Home/EU fee.

Application forms, which can be downloaded from the site shown below or obtained from the Admissions Office, should be returned to the address below by 7th December 2016:

Admissions Office, The University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX

Tel: +44(0)1482 466850, Fax: +44(0)1482 442290, Email:

The online Applications form can be accessed by registering at:

For more information about these projects contact:

Professor Jeanette Rotchell
School of Environmental Sciences
Hardy Building
University of Hull
Cottingham Road
Hull HU6 7RX, UK
Tel: +44(0)1482 465333

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Northern England