Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Start dates

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

This project is now closed. The details below are for information purposes only.


This 3-year self-funded PhD will be based in the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying and will be supervised by Dr Brett Martinson, Dr Fay Couceiro and Professor John Williams.

The work on this project will:

  • generate data in the quantity and type of airborne microplastics in all types of indoor environments

Microplastics as a pollutant are of current concern in the environment. Until now much of the research has dealt with microplastics in the aquatic environment but there is a growing concern regarding the human health implications of breathing airborne microplastics.

The newest literature suggests that airborne microplastics are more concentrated in indoor spaces and that these areas contain the most microfibres which are considered the most harmful of microplastics to the human respiratory system.

This project looks to generate data in the quantity and type of airborne microplastics in all types of indoor environments e.g. homes, libraries, lecture theaters, trains, and areas which contain the most vulnerable in our society such as elderly care homes, nurseries and hospitals.

Knowing the distribution of these microplastics and determining their origin (carpets, clothing, furniture) is the first step in enabling new strategies to be put into place to safeguard human health against microplastic pollution in the air we breathe.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering or Environmental Science.
  • In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications.
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

You should have some background in pollution monitoring.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Brett Martinson ( or Dr Fay Couceiro ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code ACES4580219. Please note: to be considered for this self-funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code when applying.

When you're ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Civil Engineering and Surveying’ as the subject area. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.

Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

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