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PhD Studentship: NERC RED ALERT CDT Studentship for 2024 Entry – Future Fibres: A OneHealth Approach to Tracking Microfibres Through the Wastewater System PhD in Biological Sciences

University of Exeter - Biosciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Exeter
Funding for: EU Students, International Students, Self-funded Students, UK Students
Funding amount: £18,622 A stipend for 3.5 years (current award for 2023-24) in line with UK Research and Innovation rates; payment of university tuition fee; a research budget of £11,000 for conferences, lab, field and research expenses
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 13th February 2024
Closes: 14th March 2024
Reference: 5056

About the Partnership

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Real-Time Digital Water-Based Systems for Environmental Health Protection (RED ALERT CDT).  The NERC RED ALERT CDT consists the University of Bath, Bangor University, Cardiff University and the University of Exeter plus the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.  RED-ALERT CDT’s vision is to train and empower a new generation of leaders to transform how we manage aquatic   environmental health via Real-Time Digital Water-Based Systems.

For eligible successful applicants, the studentship comprises:

  • A stipend for 3.5 years (currently £18,622 p.a. for 2023-24) in line with UK Research and Innovation rates
  • Payment of university tuition fee;
  • A research budget of £11,000 for conferences, lab, field and research expenses;

Project Background:

The global fashion and textiles industry is a major source of water pollution; one fifth of the world’s industrial water pollution emanates from textile processing whilst microfibres (synthetic polymers, processed cellulosics and natural fibres) have been identified as emerging pollutants across all aquatic ecosystems, with concerns they may be potentially more damaging to biogeochemical processes, species and human health than other types of plastic waste. Microfibres are abundant in urban air and wastewater systems, restricting the return of sludge to land due to concern over impacts on human health and soils. Despite this, microfibres are largely absent from holistic, One Health frameworks for evaluating the health and environmental effects of water pollution and significant challenges surround their incorporation into digital, real-time monitoring and water fingerprinting technologies.

Essential: This project is suitable for a candidate with a strong background in aquatic biology/ecology, who has relevant experience in ecotoxicological or chemical analysis approaches with a passion for environmental sustainability and ecosystem health.

Desired: The ideal candidate for this PhD would additionally have experience of approaches for analysing plastic/ microplastics in environmental samples such as FTIR or Ramen and be confident conducting fieldwork sampling as well as working in the laboratory.

Applicants should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK.   Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have Master’s degree.  Applicants with a minimum of Upper Second Class degree and significant relevant non-academic experience are encouraged to apply.

All applicants would need to meet our English language requirements by the start of the project http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/english/.

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.

  • CV
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained. This should be an interim transcript if you are still studying.
  • If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your current proficiency in English, please see the entry requirements for details.
  • Two references

General information

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

The closing date for applications is 2359 hours GMT Thursday 14 March 2024.

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