Joined UK-Australian PhD Position in Investigation of new and emerging pollutants and microplastics sources in atmosphere and their toxicological effects

Vacancy Reference Number
Coventry and Deakin Universities
Closing Date
15 Oct 2021
£15,000 bursary plus tuition fees - UK/EU/International + return ticket to Australia
Coventry and Deakin Universities
3.5 years

There is a strong concern over growing number of allergies and premature deaths from poor air quality. Particulates are the most harmful form of air pollution due to their ability to penetrate deep into the lungs, blood streams and brain. These particulates are loaded with 1000s of organic chemicals, however, only a small fraction of particulates’ organic carbon is identified at molecular level (<20%). So-called new and emerging pollutants (NEPs) e.g. pharmaceuticals, pesticides, industrial chemicals, personal care products and microplastics have been relatively recently identified in aquatic and soil environments.

Although NEPs is a term used for soil and aquatic environments, most of them have chemical properties enabling their easy transfer into atmosphere. The project will investigate, NEPs (including microplastics) in atmospheric particulates. This will be done through analytical method development for measuring NEPs, field campaigns (near NEPs emission sources and at a background urban site), lab experiments to understand NEPs transfer mechanism from their sources and assessment of cytotoxicity and the inflammatory response in human bronchial epithelial cells cultured in vitro at air-liquid interface.

The project will utilise state-of-the arts analytical instruments including Orbitrap High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry coupled to Thermal Desorption and Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography, and Infrared Microscopy

Further Information

Starting date January 22.

The degree will be awarded by both universities (Coventry and Deakin).

Please note that applications must be made to both Universities

To apply please visit:

For Coventry University

For Deakin University

Candidate Specification
Applicants must meet the admission and scholarship criteria for both Coventry University and Deakin University for entry to the cotutelle programme.

This includes;

Applicants should have graduated within the top 15% of their undergraduate cohort. This might include a high 2:1 in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 70% mark (80% for Australian graduates) in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 70% overall module average (80% for Australian graduates).

A Masters degree in a relevant subject area, with overall mark at minimum Merit level. In addition, the mark for the Masters dissertation (or equivalent) must be a minimum of 80%. Please note that where a candidate has 70-79% and can provide evidence of research experience to meet equivalency to the minimum first-class honours equivalent (80%+) additional evidence can be submitted and may include independently peer-reviewed publications, research-related awards or prizes and/or professional reports.

Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).

The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study.

Contact Details

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Ivan Kourtchev and/or Dr Svetlana Stevanovic