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Active travel, pollution exposure and effects on health- developing an onboard bicycle monitoring and assessment device

   School of Applied Sciences

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  Dr Lesley Ingram-Sills, Prof G Florida-James, Dr G Hutchison, Dr Lewis Kirkwood, Dr Norman Harris  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project


An exciting opportunity for a funded, full-time PhD project is available in a multidisciplinary team across the School of Applied Sciences and the School of Engineering & the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier University.

Urban spaces have been designed for many years for the commuter to get from A to B in the shortest time possible, with the majority journeys completed by motorised vehicles. Motorised vehicles and population density in urban areas, contribute to the high levels of air pollution found in such spaces (Colvile et al., 2001). Cyclists are often exposed to high levels of air pollutants since they share spaces beside or very close to motorised vehicles. When exercising an individual’s breathing rate increases and this could increase individual exposure to pollutants (Brand et al., 2019). In Scotland, Transport Scotland is committed to increasing the number of individuals actively commuting (walking and cycling) and it is believed that this could have a positive influence on tackling urban air pollution whilst improving public health (Luengo-Oroz & Reis, 2019). Route choice is an important factor to consider when considering a cyclist’s exposure to air pollution (Hankey & Marshall, 2015), such exposure can have adverse health consequences in the form of respiratory and cardiovascular problems (Pope & Dockery, 2012). The development is technology is allowing for monitoring of pollutant exposure at a personal level and this is something the project team would like to explore in more depth. In this project we will look at ways to develop technology to actively capture this accurately, the active travellers route choice and the influence of pollution exposure on human health. 


Why do this PhD?

You will develop skills whilst working in an interdisciplinary team, this is a key employability skill for the future. You will also have the opportunity to work with industry in the cycling sector with a range of academics at the Mountain Bike Centre for Scotland (Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland - Home (


Academic qualifications

A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in Sport engineering/ product design/development with a good understanding of active travel and the health benefits associated with it.

A postgraduate degree in a relevant area will be advantageous.


English language requirement

IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.


Essential attributes:

·        Experience of product design.

·        Competent in research project design.

·        Knowledge of pollution and its influence on health.

·        Good written and oral communication skills.

·        Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project.

·        Ability to work independently with support from a supervisor.

·        Good time management.

·        Good interpersonal skills for working with human volunteers.

Desirable attributes:

·        Understanding of active travel

To apply, please click on the ‘Institution Website’ link on the right-hand side of this page. SCROLL DOWN PAST THE FEES INFORMATION AND FUNDING SECTION TO THE 'PhD' SECTION, where you choose ‘PHD APPLIED SCIENCES full-time’.

When applying, please quote the application reference SAS0177 on your form.


·        Completed application form 

·        CV

·        2 academic references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (Found on the application process page)

·        A personal research statement (This should include (a) a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, (b) an indication of

·        What you would uniquely bring to the project and (c) a statement of how this project fits with your future direction.)

·        Evidence of proficiency in English (if appropriate)


Funding Notes

This project is fully-funded at the standard Edinburgh Napier studentship rates. Funding will include payment of full-time fees for three academic years, plus 36 monthly stipend payments at the prevailing rate set by the UK Research Councils. Interviews will take place in December. Students must be able to commence their studies in March 2023.


Assessment of cyclists’ exposure to ultrafine particles along alternative commuting routes in Edinburgh. Luengo-Oroz J, Reis S Atmospheric Pollution Research (2019) 10(4) 1148-1158
Exposure assessment of cyclists to UFP and PM on urban routes in Xi'an, China. Qiu Z, Wang W, Lv H. Environmental Pollution (2019) 250 241-250
López-Dóriga et al (2022) Health impacts of electric micromobility transitions in Barcelona: A scenario analysis, Environmental Impact Assessment Review,
Volume 96,
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