Investigation of the interactions between microplastics and potentially toxic elements in terrestrial environments

   Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry

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  Dr Christine Davidson, Dr J Liggat  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project


Pollution of the marine environment with plastic debris is recognized as an issue of global concern, and there is growing evidence that terrestrial systems are also contaminated. Recent research has detected the presence of microplastics in freshwaters, soil and even air. This PhD project will investigate the chemical interactions between microplastics, soil/sediment, and potentially toxic elements (PTE) through laboratory and field experiments. It will involve an analytical chemistry method development component (since there are as yet no internationally agreed protocols to sample microplastic particles from soil); weathering studies to assess the effects of the soil environment on microplastic chemistry and morphology; sorption/desorption studies to investigate PTE uptake and release by microplastics; and field studies in which soil samples will be collected for analysis from areas likely to be impacted by different types and sources of microplastic pollution.

The student will join an international team of environmental/analytical chemists. They will become an expert in the chemistry of microplastics and skilled in environmental chemical analysis. They will receive world-class training as an independent professional researcher through participation in Strathclyde’s extensive Researcher Development Programme.


Candidates should hold or expect to hold a first or upper second class (Bachelors or Masters) degree in a relevant discipline (chemistry, environmental chemistry or related areas).

Application procedure

Applicants should submit a CV by email to: [Email Address Removed]

Key words:

Analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, microplastics, soil, potentially toxic elements, heavy metals

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Environmental Sciences (13)

 About the Project