PhD Studentship: HYDRA – Hydrogels for aerosol capture

Applications are invited for a four year PhD studentship starting in Autumn 2023 as part of the EPSRC CDT in Aerosol Science.

Project outline

Viruses and bacteria have evolved to become adept at invading, and remaining viable inside, natural hydrogels like mucus; suggesting hydrogels possess an innate ability to sustain the viability of a bioaerosol sample. This project will combine aerosol science, engineering and polymer chemistry to develop aerosol capture devices with soft hydrogel components. Engineering new synthetic hydrogel materials with tuneable physicochemical properties could transform our capability to protect a collected bioaerosol sample and optimise recovery of viable pathogens for identification of airborne pathogens. Experimental testing will utilise simulants and explore capture and recovery of foot-and-mouth virus from aerosols produced by infected livestock.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Dr Ian JohnstonDr Michael Cook and Dr Loic Coudron.

About the Centre for Doctoral training in Aerosol Science

Aerosol science is crucial to disciplines as broad ranging as transmission of disease, drug delivery to the lungs, climate change, energy and combustion science, novel materials, and consumer and agricultural products.

An aerosol is any collection of particles dispersed in a gas. The CDT brings together a multi-disciplinary team of 80 post-graduate students and academics from seven UK universities spanning the physical, environmental and health sciences, and engineering. Our aim is to tackle the global challenges in which aerosol science is key.

Find out more on the Aerosol-CDT website

Doctoral training in Aerosol Science

During your doctorate, you will learn to research in diverse multidisciplinary teams, gain an advanced understanding of the core physical science of aerosols, and collaborate with industrial and public sector partners, equipping you to undertake ground-breaking research in aerosol science.

During the first seven months of your PhD, you will join the CDT cohort based at the University of Bristol. Core training in aerosol science, research methods, professionalism and translation will be delivered by Team Based Learning. You will then undertake a short research project at your home or partner institution before starting your PhD research. You will gain experience outside academia in a placement with an industrial/public sector partner in Year 2 or 3.

More information and how to Apply

Candidates who aspire to work in a multidisciplinary field, and hold or will achieve a minimum of an upper second-class undergraduate degree in any of these areas are encouraged to apply: chemistry, physics, biological sciences, life and medical sciences, mathematics and computer science, chemical and mechanical engineering, pharmaceutical and environmental sciences.

You can apply by visiting the Aerosol-CDT website or by emailing us at


Shortlisting for interview will take place after the deadlines below. We encourage early application to ensure the greatest availability of studentships.

Shortlisting deadlines:

  • 9am, Monday 12 December 2022
  • 9am, Monday 9 January 2023
  • 9am, Monday 30 January 2023
  • 9am, Monday 20 February 2023

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to take part in the CDT Interview and recruitment process, where you will have the opportunity to meet with potential PhD supervisors and narrow your shortlist to your preferred three projects. You will also meet with members of the CDT to explore whether the CDT in Aerosol Science is a good fit for you, and ask questions.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to furthering issues of equality, diversity and inclusion and are keen to attract the most highly talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. The needs of individuals will be accommodated during the recruitment process and while studying with the CDT. Further information on our commitment to equality and diversity can be found on our website.

Funding notes

Each four-year PhD studentship is fully funded as part of the EPSRC CDT in Aerosol Science. Successful applicants who meet the funding criteria will receive a studentship covering tuition fees, research and training support grant, plus a stipend paid at the standard UKRI rate. Both UK and overseas candidates are encouraged to apply.

Find studentships and doctoral training on the UKRI website