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PhD Studentship: Emerging air pollutants and their sources - what are they, what risk do they pose and how do they behave?


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Sunday 08 January 2023
Reference:  SCI2114

Supervisor: Dr Salim Alam

Secondary Supervisor: Dr Liz Bailey, Dr Sarah Cook

Subject Area:Air quality, Pollution, Analytical Chemistry, Emissions

Research Title
Emerging air pollutants and their sources - what are they, what risk do they pose and how do they behave?

Research Description

Changes to our daily lives are giving rise to different types of atmospheric emissions. For example, the reduction of industrial and automotive emissions, alongside soaring fuel costs, is increasing the importance of emissions from sources such as cooking and solid fuel burning (e.g. woodburning). Recent research has shown that pollutants from woodburning stoves in urban areas can be responsible for almost half of an individual’s exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. These changing patterns of emission, and pollutants that are emitted, are currently poorly described, and understood. New monitoring strategies and policies will be needed that incorporate these pollutants alongside traditional measurements.

The aim of this project is to characterise the details of emissions from solid fuel burning in both indoor and outdoor air and establish their environmental behaviour and risk. Gas and particulate samples will be collected in conjunction with the deployment of low-cost sensors within homes and urban areas, to comprehensively characterise emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and particulate matter. Advanced training in analytical and environmental instrumentation will be provided and include the use of Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), thermal desorption (TD) and Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTRMS). The candidate may also have an opportunity to investigate the atmospheric processing of identified VOC at the Saphir atmospheric simulation chamber, Julich, Germany.

Award Start Date: 01/04/2023

Duration of Award: 36 months

Terms and Conditions

36 months funded with an additional (unfunded) year for write up. This research studentship
is only available to UK citizens and includes payment of tuition fees and a tax-free stipend
based on UKRI rates.

Applicant Qualification Requirements

Applicants should have an interest in atmospheric science, environmental science, chemistry or physics. They should hold, or be expected to obtain, a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2:1 or equivalent in a physical or environmental science subject. Candidates with an additional qualification (i.e. Masters) will be looked on favourably. Experience of laboratory and fieldwork will be essential.

How to Apply

Cover letter explaining why you feel you are a suitable candidate (maximum 1 page), alongside a curriculum vitae (CV) should be emailed to Candidates will be invited for interview, after which a formal application can be made via the University website
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