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Remediation of contaminated land using waste soil coupled with biomass cropping

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, March 03, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

In Scotland, as progression is made towards a goal of zero waste to landfill, it is considered that phytoremediation utilising crops for biomass may provide opportunity to remediate contaminated waste soil whilst obtaining end products such as biodiesel, wood, or fibre with bioenergy crops viewed as a clean renewable source of energy. As such, this study will investigate the potential for habitat remediation of abandoned brownfield sites utilising contaminated soils undergoing on site phytoremediation as a sustainable alternative to the landfilling of waste soils. Simultaneously the project will also assess the environmental and economic potential of a range of bioenergy crops on such a site to allow identification of the most successful crops in relation to soil remediation, habitat creation and economic benefit over the course of the field study. Short term skip and laboratory experiments will be conducted to allow assessment of processes such as potentially toxic element (PTE) leaching under controlled conditions to fully gain understanding of responses to expect within the field.

Sustainable soil management and innovation is at the core of SRUC’s Crop and Soil Research group activities. This project will support assessment of both soil and ecosystem function in relation to this novel management strategy to assess its potential for future policy recommendations and target setting, and restoration of the site to its previous state without entailing excessive costs (both economic and environmental) utilising raw resources.
The student will be supported by an interdisciplinary team linking SRUC research and education with the University of Edinburgh School of Geosciences (the registering University), and additionally with an industrial partner (Soilutions Ltd.) providing expertise in the fields of technical soil analysis, habitat management, and phytoremediation.

Applicants should hold a 1st BSc Hons, or a Distinction at MSc level in a subject related to soil science, with experience utilising geographic information systems and undertaking analysis of soil chemistry.

Funding Notes

The stipend will be set at UKRI recommended levels for a 3.5 year-period and the studentship is funded to pay domestic tuition fee levels for UK/EU students. The student will receive an annual student stipend of £14,777 (£15,009 in 2019/20). This studentship will fund to pay the tuition fees at home fees rate only. International students must provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover the higher international student tuition fee level (approximately £16,740 per year would be required).

How good is research at SRUC - Scotland’s Rural College in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science?
(joint submission with University of Edinburgh)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 57.37

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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