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PhD Studentship: NERC RED ALERT CDT Studentship for 2024 Entry – Novel Methodologies To Assess the Environmental Health of Freshwater Systems. 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: 5057

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:

Freshwater ecosystems are some of the most threatened on earth, receiving a complex cocktail of natural and man-made chemicals as a result of human activity. These, together with alterations in abiotic parameters (such as temperature, pH and oxygen levels) result in complex exposure scenarios. The complexity of these scenarios poses a major challenge when assessing exposure impacts, and determining safe environmental levels, of novel and existing chemical threats, in the context of individual organisms or ecosystem health. Overcoming this challenge requires the development of highly advanced, innovative, high-throughput approaches for rapid and detailed assessment of chemical exposures. Whilst such advances have been made for many vertebrate models, because of the perception these groups are more important, analogous approaches are currently lacking for many invertebrate groups and for freshwater systems. This creates a significant knowledge gap, which represents a major barrier to the assessment of the health of aquatic organisms and ecosystems.

This project directly addresses this issue, developing and applying highly novel high-throughput methodologies that enable the comprehensive assessment of environmental pollutant impacts on invertebrate systems, with a level of complexity prohibited by existing approaches. As a result, this project will ultimately facilitate the reduction of anthropogenic impacts and the better protection of biodiversity in freshwater environments.

Essential: This project is suitable for a candidate with a strong background in aquatic biology/ecology, who has relevant experience in ecotoxicological approaches and who has some experience with bioinformatics and/or programming (e.g. Python).

Desired: The ideal candidate for this PhD would additionally have experience of aquatic animal physiological research techniques in a research lab environment, and experience of aquatic animal husbandry. They will also have practical experience of molecular techniques/transcriptomics, and some experience researching aquatic animal development (ideally invertebrate).

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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