Novel exposure estimation for assessing health effects of long-term exposures to pollutants


Deadline for applications: Tuesday 9 May (23:59 GMT).

Supervisors: Prof. Klea Katsouyanni & Dr. Sean Beevers

Project Summary:

Novel exposure estimation for assessing health effects of long-term exposures to pollutants for a PhD project

There is evidence that exposure to air pollution is the most important macro-environmental factor affecting the burden of disease globally (Lim et al 2010). Air pollution is an identified problem in London and the U.K. attracting media attention. However there are many open questions in our understanding of the ways air pollution affects our health and which are the most important pollutants.

The aim of this project is to investigate the long-term effects of exposures to a range of pollutants taking into account various temporal and spatial exposure patterns, different environments, as well as personal activity. Specifically, existing 2012 CMAQ urban results for London and two areas in the UK, used in this context for the first time, will be linked to subjects' residence locations included in a large cohort, such as the UK Biobank, to analyze and estimate the effects of the various exposures and exposure mixtures on selected mortality and morbidity outcomes. Furthermore, there will be an opportunity to quantify and compare the differences in the estimation of individual exposure (based on residential addresses) between our models and UK measurements and estimates already available for PM2.5 and NO2 using Land Use Regression modelling.

The first step will be to extract health data from cohort studies (e.g. UK Biobank) for each study area. The proposal will focus on 3 different areas in the UK (e.g. Inner London, Manchester Metropolitan Area, Southampton Area and/or Glasgow and Edinburgh Metropolitan Areas), selected with specific criteria in order to reflect urban, rural and industrial environments and varying population density. The second step will be to link these health data with air pollution exposure at the individual level and apply appropriate analytical methods to estimate exposure-response associations. For the London area, new models, such as the London Hybrid Exposure Model (LHEM, Smith et al., 2016), are capable of estimating an individuals’ pollutant exposure as they move around an urban area, including the mode of transport (e.g. in-vehicle, train, cycling) and the type of environment (e.g. indoors at home and at work/school) and will be employed for the first time in this effort to estimate the effects of exposure to pollutants on health for residents of London.

In addition to the above, a simulated data set for the 3 areas may be employed to provide an opportunity for inference about the effects of measurement error when monitored and modelled exposure estimates are used.  


Lim et al 2010. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 Lancet 2012; 380: 2224–60

Beevers et al., 2012a.One way coupling of CMAQ and a road source dispersion model for fine scale air pollution predictions. Atmospheric Environment 59 (2012) 47-58.

Smith JD et al. London Hybrid Exposure Model: Improving Human Exposure Estimates to NO2 and PM2.5 in an Urban Setting. Environ Sci Technol. 2016 50(21):11760–8.


The Studentship will be based at the Analytical and Environmental Sciences Division (King’s College London) for 3 years. The position has a stipend of £16,553 plus tuition fees.

Estimated start date 2017.


How to Apply:


Click on the link for the application form

All completed applications forms must be submitted by Tuesday 9 May to be considered

The application form should be completed and e-mailed to

The title of the project should be placed in the email heading.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.


This studentship is funded by the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership and the eligibility requirements for these are outlined in the terms and conditions of training grants. There is some limited flexibility regarding these eligibility requirements, to attract the very best international students to train with leading research teams in the UK, to increase our global presence and influence. King’s College therefore has scope to extend the eligibility to include highly competitive international candidates. However, the studentship will be supported at Home/EU fees rates only, and international students would be required to fund the balance of the fees.

Please note that your residency selections will be verified as part of the application process. For queries regarding your eligibility, please contact Elizabeth Hayes (