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PhD Studentship: Engineered Polymeric Micro- and Nanoplastics

Loughborough University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Loughborough
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £15,285 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 15th January 2021
Closes: 28th February 2021
Reference: FH/MP-CDT/2021

Start date of studentship: October 2021

Closing date of advert: 28/2/2021

Interview date: Tentative in first week March


Primary supervisor: Fiona Hatton

Secondary supervisors: Brian Cousins, Edwin Baynes


Plastics are ubiquitous and there is an urgent need to better manage their life cycle from production to environmental fate. Recent interest has focussed on very small (micro and nano) plastics, including their detection in and potential deleterious impact on the environment.  To better understand the life cycle of polymer materials from their creation through, use, disposal and breakdown a team of researchers supporting by collaborators from within industry, environmental agency and charities are creating a research centre at Loughborough University. The Plastrax research group (link below) will develop new materials, analytical techniques and models to characterise and track plastic particles in the environment as well as study the effect of materials on organisms. 

This research project is one of five positions starting in Oct 2021, the cohort will work together as a diverse and interdisciplinary team.  Students in the group will participate in research with a direct real-world impact through collaboration with industrial and environmental partners.  Through regular group meetings, they will also get a broad multidisciplinary understanding of this critical research area, the chance to work on cutting edge research across five different labs.   

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Find out more: 

Full Project Detail:

This polymer science project will focus on the creation of engineered polymeric micro- and nanomaterials that mimic observed environmental micro- and nanoplastics. Characterisation of these materials will be crucial, and a variety of chemical and particle characterisation techniques will be used, including nano-pore sensing and electron microscopy. The interactions of these micro- and nanoplastic mimics with biological systems will be studied in controlled laboratory environments, and in simulated river experiments, to help us to understand the fate of micro and nano-plastics in the environment, in collaboration with the other group members. 

Find out more:

Plastrax research group | School of Science | Loughborough University (

Entry requirements:

We are looking for enthusiastic, committed students who enjoy working as part of a team and doing research with an impact.  Applicants for this project should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a Chemistry, or Materials Science or engineering (or closely related) subject.  Experience in polymer synthesis and characterisation will be an advantage but is not essential.

Funding information:

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £15,285 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate.  International (including EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will cover the International Tuition Fee Only.

Contact details:

Name:  Fiona Hatton

Email address: 


How to apply: 

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Materials.

Please quote reference number: FH/MP-CDT/2021

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