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Composition, Fate and Risk of Legacy Wastes in the Coastal Zone, Mining PhD (Funded)


Project Description

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU/International tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,009 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student would be based in the Environment & Sustainability Institute and the Camborne School of Mines in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

Project Description:
Through direct disposal of wastes within the coastal zone, and via downstream transport of more distal upstream material, the UK has considerable environmental pollution legacies in coastal water bodies from historical waste deposits. These wastes pose risks to the environment, human health and can have significant current and future economic implications. This PhD project is directly aligned with a recently commenced NERC-funded Large Grant: Legacy Waste in the Coastal Zone: Environmental Risks and Management Futures’ (2020-2024) which will undertake a coordinated approach to comprehensively investigate the spatial extent, characteristics, and physical and biogeochemical behaviour of municipal and industrial legacy wastes across the UK.

The aim of the PhD project is to determine in detail the composition, fate and risk of legacy wastes (metals, metalloids, organics, nutrients, asbestos, plastics) in two representative case study legacy waste sites identified in this NERC project. The main tasks will include: (1) mapping and sampling the legacy waste sites; (2) conducting geochemical, mineralogical, spectroscopic and physical characterisation of the waste samples; (3) carrying out experiments to determine the short- and long-term fate of selected pollutants; (4) determining the ecological risks of the pollutants defined in (1) to (3). The student will have the opportunity to work with the research team (13 investigators from 7 UK universities, 3 post-doctoral research fellows and 7 project partners), visit other legacy waste sites in the UK and develop policy, management and remediation system recommendations.

This project will benefit from the world-class facilities both at the Camborne School of Mines
and the Environment & Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter. The former is a world-leading Mining and Geoscience Department with a history dating back more than 125 years, whilst the latter is a £30 m interdisciplinary centre leading cutting-edge research into solutions to problems of environmental change. Analytical techniques of specific benefit will include: ICP-MS, ICP-OES, IC, XRD, SEM-EDS, QEMSCAN, EPMA, µ-CT, XRF and pXRF. Primary supervision will be provided at the University of Exeter by Professor Karen Hudson-Edward and Dr Rich Crane, and the student will also benefit from additional supervision (and access to analytical facilities) at the Universities of Newcastle and Hull with Dr Adam Jarvis and Dr Will Mayes.

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in September 2020.

Funding Notes

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU/International tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,009 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student would be based in the Environment & Sustainability Institute and the Camborne School of Mines.

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