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  Processing biomass waste for remediation of polluted waters through targeted engineered nanoparticles and nanomaterials (ref: SF22/HLS/APP/GIRON)

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Prof Joel Giron Hernandez  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Humans are significantly transforming the Earth’s ecosystem by generating waste that leads to contamination of land surface and water, among other environmental problems. Pollution of water with contaminants, e.g. heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, etc, is of particular concern because of their long-term persistence and capability to accumulate in biological systems, which represents a threat to aquatic ecosystems and human health via the entire food chain. The importance of “ensuring clean water” is framed in the UN sustainable development goals (

This project aims to analysis of the use of food waste for the development of advanced and sustainable solutions to remediate targeted water pollutants by: 1) analysing the factors that limit the current treatments in remediating pollutants from wastewater, 2) recovering biopolymers (e.g. pectin, cellulose) from food waste streams (e.g. apple fruit pomace or coffee bean pod shells) to be use as building blocks and 3) developing innovative and low-cost nanoparticles via Layer-by-Layer assembly and validate their efficiency and reliability to remove water pollutants.

The project will be in collaboration with Universidad Surcolombiana (Colombia) and industrial partners (e.g. Yorkshire Wolds Apple Juice Co) that are keen to supply different type of biowaste. Also, Dr Gentile (Newcastle University) will support this project for the manufacturing of the nanoparticles exploiting an automated machine,

Agriculture (1) Engineering (12) Food Sciences (15)

Funding Notes

This project is fully self-funded and available to applicants worldwide. Tuition fees will depend on the running cost of the individual project, in line with University fee bands found at The fee will be discussed and agreed at interview stage.
Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:
Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
have settled status, or
have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
have indefinite leave to remain or enter.
If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.


Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non- UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above)
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: All applications must include a covering letter (up to 1000 words maximum) including why you are interested in this PhD, a summary of the relevant experience you can bring to this project and of your understanding of this subject area with relevant references (beyond the information already provided in the advert). Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF22/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Ongoing
Start Date: 1st October and 1st March are the standard cohort start dates each year.
Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our doctoral students. We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community. The University hold a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme. We also hold the HR Excellence in Research award for implementing the concordat supporting the career development of researchers.
Informal enquiries to Prof Joel Giron Hernandez (

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