PhD Studentship: Next generation technologies for real-time evaluation of protective suits against toxic materials


The University of Hertfordshire, in partnership with Ansell Ltd., are seeking a highly motivated PhD student to undertake a three year project to further develop and validate the use of an animated mannequin comprising integral chemical sensor array to establish next generation technologies for evaluating whole-body protective suits. This unique, multidisciplinary project will include aspects of toxicology, electrical engineering, computational mathematics and chemical analysis.

Qualification type: PhD

Start date: February- March 2022 (tbc)

Closing date: 31 January 2022

Duration of studentship: Three years

Open to: UK and international students

Project outline

Current strategies for evaluating personal protective equipment (PPE) adhere to well established, standardised test regimes. For example, swatches of PPE material can be evaluated in isolation by measuring the breakthrough times of toxic chemicals. More realistic testing requires the evaluation of whole suits when worn by volunteers (wearing passive chemical dosimeters) whilst undertaking physical tasks in a contaminated environment. Such exposures are necessarily limited to relatively non-toxic chemical contaminants. Moreover, the use of passive dosimeters precludes a temporal resolution of suit performance.

The aim of this project is to further develop an animated mannequin equipped with real-time chemical sensors to enable the assessment of protective ensembles against a wide range of toxic chemicals. This is a substantial, multidisciplinary project that will provide a unique and broad training opportunity for the successful candidate. The project aims to contribute towards the understanding of PPE testing and provide scientific evidence to support the development of new and effective PPE.

About the Research Centre

The Toxicology Research Group within the Centre for Research in Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology brings together multidisciplinary expertise in biological, chemical, physical, analytical and toxicological sciences to address key challenges in protecting public health. This project will be based at the University of Hertfordshire’s state of the art Toxicology facility based in Wiltshire, UK.

Find out more about Toxicology


Dr Hazem Matar, Dr Luke Savory, Dr Mike Draper and Prof Rob Chilcott.


Applicants must hold, or be about to attain, a first class or upper second-class (2:1) Honours degree or equivalent from a recognised institution or a masters degree in a relevant subject. Self-motivated candidates with excellent problem-solving skills are encouraged to apply.

The PhD studentship is open to UK and international students. The successful students will receive a stipend and have their tuition fees paid. Please note successful international applicants will have to pay their own visa and travel costs.

How to apply

Applicants are required to provide the following documents:

  • a completed application form
  • a cover letter explaining their interest in the project (personal statement in the application form)
  • your qualification certificates and transcripts
  • a copy of your passport photo page
  • two academic references.

Please send completed applications to the Doctoral College at using the following format in the email subject line: PhD Studentship: Next generation technologies for real-time evaluation of protective suits against toxic materials

The closing date for applications is 31 January 2022.

If you have an informal enquiry, please email Dr Matar

Funding information

This project is fully funded by Ansell Ltd who will also generously cover PhD tuition fees and provide a stipend at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) recommended rates (in the region of £15.5k per annum).