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Aerosol diffusion samplers: a new system for the passive monitoring of particulate matter concentration in urban environments

   Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources

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  Dr J Grau Bove, Dr Samuel Stamp  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Apply for this 4-year funded PhD studentship to develop new air quality monitoring technologies for aerosols using experiments and simulations.

Fine particulate matter is associated with health risks, and recent research has also demonstrated its negative effects in other areas, such as the degradation of cultural heritage. However, the existing technologies to monitor aerosols are expensive and therefore not used widely to assess risks and in routine monitoring. This PhD project will develop the fundamental research needed to produce a passive dosimeter for particulate matter concentration, able to offer measurements of airborne concentrations of PM with an extremely low cost and no power consumption.

The device researched by the PhD student will enable data collection in an unprecedented rate, allowing mapping of pollutant exposure indoors and outdoors with high spatial resolution and more precision than current optical low-cost meters. However, these advantages are paired with drawbacks that need to be evaluated quantitatively: the accuracy and detection limits are likely to be a function of particle size, and the exposure times a function of concentration. The data obtained from these dosimeters will be optimal for the validation of dispersion models, such as computational fluid dynamics models. The outputs of this project will support research on exposure to pollutants in spaces such as schools, public spaces, museums, and residential buildings.

Studentship Aims

The overall aim of this PhD is to design, test and evaluate in real environments a dosimeter device that can offer reliable measurements of aerosol concentration. This research will require a combination of laboratory experiments, simulations, and field tests. More specifically the PhD would aim to:

  • Develop a prototype dosimeter and calibrate it using environmental chamber experiments
  • Use simulations to optimise the design parameters of the dosimeter
  • Collect aerosol concentration measurements in indoor spaces using the developed technology in co-location with other methods
  • Validate this approach and deploy it in wider field studies, potentially including comparison of the measurements with predictions of aerosol dispersion models

Person Specification

Applicants should meet the UCL Institute of Sustainable Heritage PhD programme requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master's degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor's degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master's degree to be admitted.

All applicants must also meet the minimum language requirements of UCL.

Stage 1 - Eligibility and How to Apply

Please submit a pre-application by email to [Email Address Removed]  with Subject Reference: 4-year PhD studentship Aerosol diffusion samplers:

Your pre- application should include the following:

  • A covering letter clearly stating why you wish to apply for the project outlining how your interests and experience relate to it,
  • CV

Complete our Fees and EDI questionnaire via the linked Microsoft Forms.

Stage 2 - Interview Process

Only shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview.

  • For the interview shortlisted candidates will be asked to send proof of their degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) of degree(s), and evidence of their fees background.
  • The interview panel will consist of the project’s academic supervisors at UCL.
  • The interview will include a short presentation from the candidate on their ideas of how to approach this PhD project.
  • Following the interview, the successful candidate will be invited to make a formal application to the UCL Institute of Sustainable Heritage

Deadline for Applications

Sunday 3 July 2022 23:59PM (UK time)


The successful candidate will be undertaking this project in UCL at the main (Bloomsbury) campus and lab work may be conducted at UCL Here East (Stratford), For more information, please visit the UCL ISH website.

For further details about the admission process, please contact: [Email Address Removed]   

For any further details regarding the project, contact Dr Josep Grau-Bove [Email Address Removed] and/or Dr Samuel Stamp on [Email Address Removed].

Funding Notes

The studentship will cover UK course fees and tax-free stipend of approx. £18,000* per year for 4 years.
*Exact amount still to be confirmed
There will be a possibility to apply for additional funding to cover research related expenses, activities, travel.
The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to teaching and related duties for approximately 25% of their time for the duration of your studentship. The monthly commitment may vary depending on the time during the academic year.
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