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Transport and fate of microplastics from rivers to the ocean

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, August 31, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Supervisor: Gustavo de Almeida & Sergio Maldonado (WEEG)

Project description

Since the 1950’s the world has witnessed the dramatic increase in production and widespread consumption of plastics. Over the last decades, the multiple benefits of this cheap, lightweight, strong and —most relevant to this proposal, durable— material are undeniable. Long regarded as advantageous, plastic durability has turned into the cause of one of the main environmental concerns of the 21st century. Once in the environment, plastic accumulates and undergo slow degradation, persisting in the environment for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Plastics account for more than 60% of all floating debris in the oceans and their fragmentation into smaller sizes produces particles that are difficult to trace or remove from the environment, and can be ingested by fish and even small invertebrates. Despite the multiple environmental and health issues associated with plastics in the environment, the transport, transformation and accumulation of plastics in rivers and the ocean remain poorly understood. This project is aimed at developing a detailed understanding of these processes, which is fundamental to address this critical environmental risk. To this end, the successful candidate will work on a pioneering research that will combine state-of-the-art laboratory experimentation and computational modelling. The outcomes of this project are expected to underpin future technologies to predict, monitor and mitigate the accumulation of plastics in the environment.

The successful candidate will have a 1st or very strong 2:1 degree in Engineering, Physics or closely related disciplines and a strong interest in fluid mechanics and environmental engineering. The project will offer an unique opportunity to learn advanced laboratory, analytical and computational methods in fluid dynamics. If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Gustavo de Almeida (). Please notice that funding (fees and stipend) are fully covered for UK applicants only.

Key Skills: Hydraulics, Fluid mechanics, experimentation, computational modelling

Entry Requirements
A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition fees for EU/UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,009 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online here selecting “PhD Eng & Env (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Gustavo de Almeida under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include:
Research Proposal
Curriculum Vitae
Two reference letters
Degree Transcripts to date
Apply online:

For further information please contact:

How good is research at University of Southampton in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 192.23

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

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