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  Impact of wastewater treatment plants on emission of new and emerging pollutants into atmosphere

   Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience

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  Dr Ivan Kourtchev, Dr Z Shi, Dr A Bogush  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship.

The proposed project will investigate and quantify emission of new and emerging pollutants (NEPs) from wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) into atmosphere.

WWTPs are designed to remove contaminants from domestic and municipal wastewater. WWTPs serve as a ‘repository’ of concentrated wastes from these environments and are enriched with 1000s of chemicals including pharmaceuticals, pesticides, industrial chemicals, and personal care products, most of which are not regulated and referred to as NEPs. NEPs are released continuously into environment and their presence even at very low quantities may cause chronic toxicity and endocrine disruption in humans. Although NEPs are mainly associated with aquatic environments, there is significant evidence that these pollutants can undergo liquid‑to‑air transfer, e.g. during aeration step of WWT. Current governmental regulations on ambient air quality are limited to a very small number of air pollutants potentially overlooking a significant environmental problem.

The project will involve analytical method development for measuring NEPs, field campaigns and lab experiments to understand NEPs transfer mechanism from WWT and contaminated waters into ambient air.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will acquire a wealth of new competences in environmental analytical chemistry research, including new analytical skills and instrumental methods under the guidance of Dr Kourtchev. The applicant will benefit from the unique opportunity of using the powerful instruments available for determining the molecular composition of environmental samples. Training on cutting-edge High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS), hyphenated techniques (e.g.LC-MS, GC-MS) will provide knowledge of off-line analytical methods. Furthermore, the training provided in the advanced data analysis tools (PCA, PMF, HCA) will furnish the applicant with new technological competencies that are increasingly being used in environmental chemistry research to interpret highly complex datasets, such as those generated in field measurements, including in organisms. The new knowledge and training acquired by the applicant will significantly improve his/her scientific skills base and provide a strong platform for building an independent research career integrating methods from both chemistry and biology fields.

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry criteria for applicants to PhD

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.


  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English. The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

For further details please visit:

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Ivan Kourtchev (email: [Email Address Removed])

To apply on line please visit: 

Details of all available research opportunities at Coventry University can be found via

All applications require full supporting documentation, and a covering letter – plus the following: an up-to 2000-word supporting statement is required showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.


UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Reason for eligibility restriction:

  • Funder requirement
  • Timescale

Start date: September 2022

Duration of study: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline date: 16th May 2022

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Enquiries may be enquired to: Dr Ivan Kourtchev (email: [Email Address Removed])

Chemistry (6) Environmental Sciences (13)

Funding Notes

Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International (including EU at international rates from Sept 21)
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