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Large-scale Integration of Microfluidic IntigraTed Sensors (LIMITS)

   School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

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  Dr T Hallam, Dr Marloes Peeters, Dr Richard Whalley  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A recent Environment Agency report has led to eleven British water companies being fined £150 million for uncontrolled dumping of sewerage into waterways. This makes effective water quality testing not only important for water companies and regulators but also for individuals who care about the natural environment and public health.

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate to develop a water quality sensor that can be used to detect biological contamination in waterways and marine environments. In particular, a proof-of-concept testing system that is able to carry out automated, longitudinal biological testing for markers of fecal contamination such as E. coli

The successful candidate will use semiconductor industry fabrication techniques to design, fabricate and test a lab-on-chip sensing platform with large scale integration of biological, electronic and microfluidic components. This is an interdisciplinary project that will provide the candidate with significant taught and practical skill development in the areas of microfluidic engineering, impedimetric sensor design and biotechnology.

Throughout the PhD, the candidate will work closely with water quality monitoring and analytics company Litmus Technology to ensure relevance of the sensor platform development. The PhD will also include a project placement with Litmus, overseeing water quality testing buoys in an ongoing technology testbed application.

The project is supported by academics from Physics, Marine Engineering, and Chemical Engineering and the BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership ensuring that the candidate graduates with a world-class interdisciplinary scientific skillset.


Applications should be made by emailing [Email Address Removed] with:

·        a CV (including contact details of at least two academic (or other relevant) referees);

·         a covering letter – clearly stating your first choice project, and optionally 2nd ranked project, as well as including whatever additional information you feel is pertinent to your application; you may wish to indicate, for example, why you are particularly interested in the selected project(s) and at the selected University;

·        copies of your relevant undergraduate degree transcripts and certificates;

·        a copy of you IELTS or TOEFL English language certificate (where required);

·        a copy of your passport (photo page).

A GUIDE TO THE FORMAT REQUIRED FOR THE APPLICATION DOCUMENTS IS AVAILABLE AT Applications not meeting these criteria may be rejected.

In addition to the above items, please email a completed copy of the Additional Details Form (as a Word document) to [Email Address Removed]. A blank copy of this form can be found at:

Informal enquiries may be made to [Email Address Removed].

The deadline for all applications is 12noon on Monday 9th January 2023. 

Funding Notes

CASE studentships are funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for 4 years. Funding will cover tuition fees at the UK rate only, a Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) and stipend. We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.


“Development of a novel design of Microfluidic Impedance Cytometry for improved sensitivity and cell identification”
Lab on Chip (2022) Submitted
”Evaluating the temperature dependence of heat-transfer based detection: A case study with caffeine and Molecularly Imprinted Polymers as synthetic receptors”
Chemical Engineering Journal (2019) 359, 505-517.
“Approaches to the rational design of molecularly imprinted polymers developed for the selective extraction or detection of antibiotics in environmental and food samples” physica status solidi a., 218, (2021), 2100021
“Fabrication routes via projection stereolithography for 3D-printing of microfluidic geometries for nucleic acid amplification”
PloS one 15, (2020), e0240237
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