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Microplastics in Drinking Water: Tap vs Bottled water

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

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

The studentship will commence in either May or September 2020, depending on availability of the successful applicant.

Background and Motivation

The World Health Organisation (WHO) published a recent review about the potential risks of microplastics in drinking water (WHO, 2019) in which they outlined potential impact to human health as:

“1) Physical: microplastics could enter the body and damage internal structures;
2) Chemical: for instance, plastic additives such as plasticizers could enter drinking water;
3) Biofilm: microorganisms might attach to microplastics and form colonies, which could cause harm.”

Therefore, it is very important to understand the occurrence/type/ amount of microplastics in both tap and bottled drinking water, identify the sources of microplastics and investigate the potential impact of microplastics in drinking water on human health.

It is a great opportunity for a PhD student to be part of the cutting-edge research and learn new techniques for submicron- and microplastics analysis.

Aim of the Project

The main goal of the project is to investigate submicron- and microplastics in tap and bottled drinking water and their impact on human health.

Research Questions

• What types of microplastics are present in drinking water?
• What are the sources of microplastics pollution in drinking water?
• Which drinking waters (tap or bottled) are worse in terms of plastics pollution?

Research Objectives

• Understand plastics pollution in drinking water (tap and bottled);
• Compare tap and bottled drinking water in term of microplastics pollutions;
• Identify/observe sources of microplastics pollutions in drinking water;
• Understand the health impact of submicron- and microplastics from drinking water.

Academic Environment

Coventry University has been the UK’s top modern university for seven consecutive years (Guardian University Guide 2013-2019) and holds a number of other prestigious accolades. Established in 2014 through substantial university investment, the Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience (CAWR) is rapidly building a global reputation for transdisciplinary research into processes of resilience in social-ecological systems. Among its key lines of research is work focusing on modelling of water and food systems, aided by high performance computing facilities.

Training and Development

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 minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.


the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
• a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

For further details see:


• BSc/MSc in a science-based subject area (Chemistry and/or Environmental science)
• Strong interest in interdisciplinary research
• Experience in laboratory and experimental work
• Some knowledge of statistics and data analysis
• Ability to work independently and in a team
• Effective time management and organisation skills

How to apply

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Anna Bogush (; )
To apply on line please visit:

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

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Start date: May or September 2020 depending on availability of successful candidate

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

Application deadline: This opportunity will only remain open until a suitable candidate is identified- early application is therefore recommended

Interview dates: Dates will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Funding Notes

No funding available for this project

You can apply now for a doctoral loan of up to £25,700 for a new UK PhD in any subject this year.

The money is provided by the UK Government and is paid to you in instalments.

Repayments are income-contingent and are made when you are earning over £21,000 a year.

You can get a PhD loan if you're an English - or Welsh-resident student studying in the UK or an EU student coming to study in England or Wales.

Find out more about Doctoral Loans: View Website

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