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PhD studentship opportunities in Environment and Health Epidemiology and Exposure Assessment

PhD studentship opportunities in Environment and Health Epidemiology and Exposure Assessment

We invite applications for 3-year PhD studentships in the MRC Centre for Environment and Health and two NIHR Health Protection Research Units in Environmental Exposures and Health and Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards

Our researchers are uniquely placed produce high quality research, working with partners to translate knowledge into policy and improve population health, supported by a bespoke training programme to ensure they are equipped with the appropriate skills and experience.

We are seeking outstanding candidates in the following areas:

  • Health impacts of exposure to residential air pollutants: Studies have identified (semi) volatile organic compounds ((S)VOCs) as being of public health concern. This project will develop a microenvironmental exposure model to predict indoor concentrations of SVOCs and other pollutants in the home. The student will extend an existing exposure model, carry out fieldwork to evaluate performance and investigate links between residential exposure and health outcomes.
  • Is air pollution in England linked to increasing infertility? The incidence of male and female infertility has increased in recent years, and is recognised as a global public health issue, and is of considerable public concern. Advanced maternal age is known to be the leading factor responsible but other factors that affect both men and women including air pollution, may contribute. Epidemiological evidence linking exposure to ambient air pollution with fertility disorders in women and men is still inconsistent and is subject to many study limitations but given that we are all exposed to air pollution it is essential to understand if this aspect of our environment is contributing to fertility problems. An opportunity to address this topic is available by using UK COSMOS, an ongoing large cohort study that provides information on many potential confounding variables. This project offers the student an opportunity to develop a broad skillset covering environmental exposure modelling, epidemiological analysis, reproductive epidemiology which would stand them in excellent stead for their further career.
  • Assessing human health impacts from exposures to “forever chemicals”: Perfluorinated chemicals, or “forever chemicals” include a large number of synthetic compounds which are bio accumulative and very persistent in the environment and in the human body. Despite their common use in a wide range of daily products, a recent briefing by the European Environment Agency highlighted that risks to human health and the environment were still poorly understood. Some studies have suggested that an impact on infant birth weights, the immune system, cancer and Covid-19. This multi-disciplinary project, conducted in close partnership with the UK Health Security Agency (HAS), will involve i) reviewing current evidence of health risks; ii) modelling based on measurements in the environment; and iii) conducting epidemiological analysis at population level.
  • Metallic aerosols in the environment - building the next generation of exposure assessment models: Exposure to metals via inhalation of aerosols is a new and important area of research given the potential for neurological effects (e.g., Alzheimer’s) within an ageing population. This project will combine recent advances in measurement of airborne metals at high time resolution in different urban settings (indoor, outdoor, transport) with highly detailed population exposure modelling, to provide new insights into individual exposure, representative of the entire London population. You will estimate the important sources of toxic metals, assess policies for exposure reduction and provide data for ongoing health research.
  • Exposures and health effects near brownfield sites: To respond to the growing housing needs brownfield sites are increasingly being targeted for housing redevelopment. Depending on their previous use, ex-brownfield sites might pose potential risks to the health of residents in housing developments either in, on or in the vicinity of, redeveloped sites. This PhD will identify ex-brownfield sites in the UK, with a focus on redeveloped ex-gasworks sites, develop an exposure assessment of affected populations and conduct epidemiological analysis on potential adverse health effects. This project is supervised by Dr Daniela Fecht (Imperial College London) within the NIHR HPRU in Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards.
PhD studentship opportunities in Environment and Health Epidemiology and Exposure Assessment

For more information, and instructions on how to apply, visit

The MRC Centre and the NIHR HPRUs are committed to equality of opportunity, eliminating discrimination and creating an inclusive working environment.

The closing date for applications is 15th November 2021. Studentships will commence by October 2022.

PhD studentship opportunities in Environment and Health