EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science studentships

Project description

Applications are invited for six PhD studentships starting in Autumn 2020 as part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science:

Airborne particle collection into single droplets to analyse and identify harmful aerosol constituents

Investigation of harmful airborne aerosols is crucial in understanding their potential health implications. The greatest challenge in analysing aerosols containing microorganisms and particles is to collect them in sufficiently high concentrations for identification. Through application of theoretical and experimental engineering approaches you will investigate droplet-based techniques for collecting particles.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Assoc. Prof. Ian Johnston: i.d.johnston@herts.ac.uk

Collection methods for early detection of airborne viruses

Airborne aerosols are a primary transport mechanism for many diseases. Through experimentation, computational modelling and engineering prototyping, you will investigate aerosol capture mechanisms for effective real-time monitoring of disease transportation. This will include fundamental studies on the properties of the collected material and the principles of aerosol collection.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Assoc. Prof. Daniel McCluskey: d.mccluskey@herts.ac.uk

In vitro modelling of lung response to environmental nanoparticulates

Environmental nanoparticulates can gravely impact health, leading to cardiopulmonary diseases and lung cancer. This project will bring together cutting-edge in vitro lung models, advanced deposition technologies and image analysis algorithms to characterise the lung tissue response to environmental nanoparticulate and to shed light upon their mechanisms of toxicity.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Dr Laura Urbano: l.urbano@herts.ac.uk

Microphysiological models for the assessment of pulmonary concentration of inhaled aerosols

There are significant gaps in our understanding of the links between aerosol deposition sites, binding to lung tissue and the time course of local drug concentrations during inhaled therapy. This project will combine emerging microfluidic, lung-on-a-chip technologies with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry bioanalysis to explore the ‘holy grail’ of in-lung pharmacokinetics.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Prof Darragh Murnane: d.murnane@herts.ac.uk

Modelling and detecting micro-scale birefringent particles

Optical light scattering techniques are widely used for the classification of microscopic airborne particles with a wide range of applications (air pollution, climate modelling, agriculture, etc.).  You will use state-of-the-art optical instruments and aerosol levitation to develop a technique for the detection of the carcinogenic respirable crystalline silica.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Dr Chris Stopford: c.stopford@herts.ac.uk

Respirable fibre measurement from light scattering patterns

Fibrous particle inhalation can cause a range of respiratory diseases. Current detection methods require filtration and manual counting under a microscope. You will work with state-of-the-art optical instrumentation to develop a technique for the real-time detection and measurement of airborne fibres.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Dr Chris Stopford: c.stopford@herts.ac.uk

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science (CAS):

CAS brings together a multi-disciplinary team of academics from seven UK universities (Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Imperial, Leeds and Manchester) spanning the physical, environmental and health sciences, and engineering.

Working with industrial and public-sector partners in the areas of healthcare, materials science, energy and transport, environment, consumer products and agrochemicals, we aim to tackle some of the most challenging problems in aerosol science.

Expertise in aerosol science is important in a broad range of disciplines spanning drug delivery to the lungs to the transmission of disease, climate change to combustion science, routes to novel materials to consumer and agricultural products.

Our graduates will become agile experts, able to work at the boundaries between the conventional disciplines where aerosols play a role.

Programme details

The 4-year CAS training programme will include a period of intensive training in year 1, hosted by the CAS hub at the University of Bristol. You will receive comprehensive training in the core physical science of aerosols, research methods, an in professionalism and translation of research. You will then have the opportunity to build networks across the seven universities, undertaking a short project at either your home institution or another partnering institution. These training elements will equip you for your PhD research in years 2-4, based at the University of Hertfordshire.

Throughout your PhD, you will be supported by a mentoring team of two academic supervisors and an industrial partner, who will host you for a placement in Year 2 or 3. You will benefit from the diverse backgrounds of your peers, with training in year 1 using team-based learning. Cooperative learning groups in subsequent years will continue to provide opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and support.

For more information, see https://www.aerosol-cdt.ac.uk/programme-details/.

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.

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.

Apply via our website:



Apply by 3 February 2020 – Applicants with a suitable academic background will be invited to attend a recruitment and assessment day in Bristol on 10 February. Applications after this date will be subject to remaining availability of studentships.

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

The successful applicant(s) will receive a studentship that covers tuition fees and stipend, paid at the standard UKRI rate.