Postgraduate research opportunities

Real Time Detection and Management of Antimicrobial Residues in Milk

Antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, are widely used in farming to treat a range of diseases caused by microorganisms. On dairy farms, there is a high risk that milk contaminated with antimicrobial residues contaminates the bulk storage tank and therefore milk destined for commercial use.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Stipend

Opens

18 February 2020

Deadline

30 March 2020

Duration

42 months

Eligibility

Candidates will need at least a 2.1 Bachelor’s degree, Masters or equivalent degree in a physical sciences, engineering or biology related subject.

 The student will have to be comfortable working on technical engineering problems involving electrochemistry, electronics and biology.  Prior knowledge of these areas isn’t essential, but the student must be able to demonstrate an ability to learn them.

Eligibility for RCUK studentships

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.
  • EU students are only eligible for RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.
  • If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

Project Details

Antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, are widely used in farming to treat a range of diseases caused by microorganisms.  On dairy farms, there is a high risk that milk contaminated with antimicrobial residues contaminates the bulk storage tank and therefore milk destined for commercial use. Contaminated milk can no longer be sold resulting in large financial losses across the supply chain. Additionally, contaminated milk is disposed of in the environment, dispersing antimicrobials and potentially accelerating the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. The tests currently used to screen milk for antimicrobial residues are expensive or time consuming and only detect a limited range of residues. 

The project represents an excellent development opportunity for the PhD student, who will gain valuable experience at the interface between research and industry.  The results and outcomes of the project will be used as a basis to apply for larger commercialisation grants, ultimately to deliver commercial solutions.  Our partnership includes the University of the West of Scotland, who are industry facing and have a strong network to deliver bench top and farm prototypes of the system.

The overall aim of this studentship is to create a low-cost sensor system that could be used to detect the presence of key antimicrobial residues within milk, by developing a low-cost electrochemical sensor platform.  For full details, see the further information links at the end.  The project is funded through CENSIS: Scotland’s Innovation Centre for sensing, imaging and the Internet of Things technologies and the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC).

 In addition to the project, the student will gain a PG Certificate in Researcher Professional Development, which will help them develop a strong skillset for a career in industry or academia at the end of their PhD.

Funding Details

Fully funded by CENSIS and the EPSRC for eligible students (UK and EU citizens resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the PhD).

Fees and stipend for this studentship is available, but can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.

 EU students are only eligible for UKRI stipend if they have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.  If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition, then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.

International students cannot be funded from UKRI funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. (‘Settled’ is defined as being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right of Abode or Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If a student’s passport describes them as a British citizen, they have the Right of Abode.)

 Students with full refugee status are eligible for UKRI fees and full stipend.

 It is important to note that residential eligibility is based on a physical presence in the UK. British citizenship in itself does not satisfy the residential eligibility requirement.

Number of places

1

Contact us

Please contact: Andrew.c.ward@strath.ac.uk for more details.

How to apply

For more details about the project and how to apply, please contact Andrew Ward in the first instance (Andrew.c.ward@strath.ac.uk).