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KESS 2 Research Masters: BIOCLEAR

   Research & Innovation Services

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  Prof Tony Davies  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Here is an exciting opportunity to study a technological solution which could lead to entirely new approaches in the rapid identification of biological contamination is water systems.

The selected candidate will apply their analytical laboratory and problem-solving skills and ambition to help develop a new rapid detection methodology. This industrially relevant project will allow the student to develop transferable knowledge and skills in this most exciting and active field of analytical instrument development research.

This Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) project will be held in the Faculty of Computing Engineering and Science at the University of South Wales. KESS is a programme funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) awarded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) in the Welsh Government. The MbyRes will be associated with a successful local high-tech company with a proven track record in novel instrumentation development and successfully sponsoring university-based research initiatives. The project will focus on analytical instrumentation development to deliver a real-time monitoring solution for biocontamination events..

The project is backed by IMSPEX Diagnostics Ltd. which has been a leader in Ion Mobility technology since 2011.

Programme of research:

Following on from the success of the Innovate UK Biocontamination Project IMSPEX Diagnostics Ltd require research support to further develop their micro thermodesorption GC-IMS® device for this specific analytical challenge area. The device itself has already been successfully deployed in industrial settings. Research is required to optimise the analytical methodology to be more robust and to expand the range of biological contaminants identified by the system from their microbial volatile (mVOC) signals.

This research project will benefit from lessons learnt from an initial short trial of the un-optimised pilot device. The results of this short deployment will be analysed to be able to create a Design of Experiments for optimisation the underlying methodology. This work will include expanding on the reference data collection derived from the most common sources of biocontamination. This database requires expanding using other biological contaminants – at different stages in their growth cycles as well as potential contaminating chemicals from other sources.

The industrial partner(s) will supply background information on likely scenarios and remedial actions recommended based on the Alarm Status and Alarm Report based on detailed Risk Assessments for each scenario.

The studentship will cover the fees for a full-time MbyRes programme and pay a stipend of circa £11.8k p.a. There is also around £3k project support costs available for consumables, travel, minor equipment, training (including the KESS Grad School) and conference attendance.

The position is available from 1st October 2022

Eligibility of Student:

To be eligible to hold a KESS studentship, you must:

  • have a home address in West Wales & the Valleys area (details below)* at the time of registration.
  • have the right to take up paid work in the Convergence area* on completion of the scholarship.
  • must have the right to work in the region on qualification
  • satisfy University of South Wales’s admissions criteria: see below, qualifications and experience and application process
  •  The Convergence area covers West Wales and the Valleys, and is made up of the following 15 local authorities: Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen.

Qualifications and experience:

Eligible applicants will:

  • Have a degree (2i or higher) in an appropriate scientific discipline
  • Possess a reasonable understanding of scientific methodology and the needs of quality working practices
  • Be highly self-motivated, with capacity to learn and develop advanced scientific, manual laboratory and data processing techniques
  • Have well-developed and positive collaborative interpersonal skills
  • Have an ability to deliver technical reports and communicate findings
  • Be willing to travel and work in industrial settings

Application Process:

To download an application package, please visit:  Participant Application Package

For any queries on eligibility, please contact: KESS Team at Research and Innovation Services, University of South Wales: [Email Address Removed] Tel: 01443 482578

For informal enquiries or further programme information, please contact: Professor Tony Davies  ([Email Address Removed]).

Closing date for applications: midnight Monday 19/09/2022

Interviews will be held w/c (TBC)

Funding Notes

This is a funded MbyRes, including a generous stipend and tuition fees, with well-resourced circumstances for a successful scholarship.


Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) is a pan-Wales higher-level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) programme for West Wales and the Valleys.
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