Postgraduate research opportunities

Urban Atmospheric Microplastic Pollution – from creation to inhalation of Microplastic Pollution in our living spaces

The research will investigate the prevalence, transport and impact of microplastic pollution in our urban environments. The aim of this work in to provide a detailed quantitative understanding of key sources, pathways and transport through to deposition and sinks of atmospheric microplastic.

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


18 June 2020


31 July 2020


42 months


You should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in a relevant science or engineering subject. This project is suitable for those with backgrounds in any of the following areas:  Chemistry, Environmental Science, Earth Sciences, Physics, Atmospheric Modelling, Meteorology, Anthropogenic Pollution Analysis, or other relevant discipline. This studentship is quite autonomous with tremendous scope for adaption so it would be beneficial for applicants to have strong problem solving and independent working skills. There may also be an aspect of travel in the studentship post covid-19

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

Microplastics pollution is one of the most pressing environmental challenges that we are currently facing.  Despite an increasing awareness that microplastics are likely pervasive in many environments, we still have limited understanding of their sources, transport behaviour and impact.  This provides many questions that desperately need answering and this is your opportunity to make your mark in this exciting and rapidly evolving field. This project aims to identify the sources, transport and potential human inhalation of microplastic pollution in our urban environment. The project is UK focused, using Glasgow and the Scottish south west coast and hinterland as the area of investigation with the potential to investigate comparative cities in Europe. Through passive deposition and active pumped sampling air from across a range of environments (intensive industrial areas, residential spaces, city centres), the atmospheric microplastic (MP) prevalence will be examined in detail. This will provide one of the first quantitative atmospheric MP source studies aimed at identifying the types of industrial activities creating secondary atmospheric MP pollution and will provide evidenced atmospheric transport analysis of how far and where this atmospheric MP can be transported to (area of impact), using atmospheric particle modelling tools such as HYSPLIT or FLEXPART. 

Funding Details

This is an EPSRC funded scholarship.  The scholarship will cover fees & stipend for a Home/EU student.


Supervisors will include: Dr Allen, Prof. Phoenix and Prof. White

Number of places


Contact us

Please contact Dr Deonie Allen ( for more details.

How to apply