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Mapping heavy metal pollution in river water with paper-based devices through citizen science


Funded PhD


3 years (full-time)

Application deadline:

Wednesday 23 January 2019

About this project

Water contamination by toxic metals occurs across the globe; established methods require well-equipped laboratories and only give a sporadic picture of what are very dynamic environments. Frequent measurements (daily) in many locations are needed.

To tackle this challenge, the PhD student will develop paper-based dip-stick devices to be operated by members of the local community. This requires suitable chemistry for fast readout and reagent storage. To enable pre-concentration as required for low-level pollutants, the student will develop simple filter systems linking with the pads. The devices will be trialled with existing partners in Kenya, Malaysia and/or Vietnam, using a custom-built app.

Ultimately, this will enable a deeper understanding of the source, transport, and persistence of environmental contaminants.  

Project supervisors:

The University's Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme. 

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The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help.

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The Graduate School provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the school is here to help you achieve your potential. 

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Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chains to slavery. 

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The studentships will include full fees and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements

Applicants for all projects should have a 1st class undergraduate degree and Masters level qualification in physical, engineering or environmental sciences, or a related discipline, together with relevant research experience. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.

Candidates suited to this project would have a degree in Chemical or Environmental Sciences or a related discipline.