PhD Studentships - October 2020

We are pleased to invite applications for 3-year PhD studentships in the Medical Research Council Centre for Environment and Health (MRC-CEH) and two National Institute for Health Research funded Health  Protection Research Units (HPRU) in Environmental Exposures and Health and in Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards.

The studentships will be based with one of the partners in these units:

  • Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (EBS) at Imperial College
  • Environmental Research Group (ERG) also at Imperial College
  • Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE), at Public Health England//National Institute of Health Protection.
  • Peter Gorer Department of Immunobiology at King’s College London

Our researchers are uniquely placed to lead collaborative projects nationally and internationally, producing high quality research in selected areas (see below) and working in collaboration with academic partners (e.g. MRC Toxicology Unit Cambridge, King's College London) health and environmental agencies (e.g, Public Health England, US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, the Environmental Agency, Transport for London) and industry (e.g. Bosch, Dyson Ltd, JCB) to translate this knowledge into policy and improve population health.

A key focus of our mission and strategy is to train and develop the next generation of academic and policy leaders in the field of environment and health research. Successful PhD candidates will be supported by a leading bespoke training programme to ensure that they are equipped with the appropriate skills and experience to become first class researchers.


We are looking for outstanding candidates with an interest in environment and health research in the UK and beyond, and with experience in at least one of the following areas:

- Environmental exposure assessment and epidemiology (incl. air pollution, noise, ionizing and non-ionising radiation, waste management, water, climate change and health)
- Molecular signatures of exposures and disease pathways (incl. biomarkers, metabolic profiling, exposome, multi-‘omics’ analyses and modelling)
- Biostatistics, data science and computational biology (incl. spatial epidemiology and small area studies, artificial intelligence, Bayesian nonparametric modelling)
- Cohorts and Data Resources (incl. cohorts of children and adolescents, e.g. CHILL, SCAMP, CLUE, NFBC; occupational cohorts, e.g. AIRWAVE; cohorts of mobile phone users, e.g. COSMOS; other large cohorts, e.g. ALEC, INTERMAP, LIFEPATH)
- Urban environments and health (incl. social, economic, behavioural and technological processes, inequalities)


• Establishing the external and internal chemical exposome of populations living near closed landfill sites.

   Supervisors: Dr Ian Mudway, Dr Leon Barron

• Breast Milk, Environment, and Early life Development (BEED) study.

   Supervisors: Prof. Mireille Toledano

• Pathways and biomarkers of mixtures of chemical exposures.

   Supervisors: Prof. M Chadeau-Hyam

• Chemical exposures and health effects near selected closed landfill sites.

   Supervisors: Dr Daniela Fecht, Dr Bethan Davies

• Clearance of neurotoxins and other highly toxic chemicals from the environment.

   Supervisors: Prof. Tom Welton, Prof. Tricia Hunt (Victoria University Wellington, NZ)

• Detection of neurotoxins and other highly toxic agents in water.

   Supervisors: Dr Leon Barron, Prof. Marc Chadeau-Hyam, Prof. Paolo Vineis

• Improving human exposure estimates to airborne metals in an urban setting.

   Supervisors: Dr Sean Beevers, Dr David Green

• The role of AhR in Asthma.

   Supervisors: Prof Catherine Hawrylowicz, Dr Ian Mudway

• NO2 and PM relative toxicity - Disentangling effects of NO2 and PM2.5 in time-series analysis.

   Supervisor: Dr Heather Walton

• Microplastic toxicity in the airway.

   Supervisor: Dr Stephanie Wright

• Drugs of misuse.

   Supervisors: Dr Leon Barron, Dr Tim Marczylo, Prof Tim Gant

• Using wastewater-based epidemiology to monitor UK-wide consumption of illicit and abused drugs and their health implications.

   Supervisors: Dr Leon Barron, Dr Frederic Piel

• Understanding the chemical xeno-exposome and source apportionment in particulate air pollution.

   Supervisors: Dr Leon Barron, Dr David Green

• Understanding human exposure to new and emerging disinfectant by-products via water sources.

   Supervisors: Dr Leon Barron, Dr Sonia Dagnino

• Characterizing the internal and external plastic exposome.

   Supervisors: Dr Stephanie Wright, Dr Ian Mudway, Dr Leon Barron

• The impact of dust exposure on the health of London Underground workers.

   Supervisors: Dr David Green, Prof. Paul Cullinan

• Investigating concentration hot spots.

   Supervisors: Dr Gary Fuller, Dr David Green, Dr Ben Barratt

• Using a century of measurement data to investigation the effectiveness of air pollution policy and life-course health impact.

   Supervisors: Dr Gary Fuller, Dr Monica Pirani

• Establishing whether urban air pollution accelerates biological aging.

   Supervisors: Dr Ian Mudway, Dr Oliver Robinson

• Multi-omic investigation of biological age and its relation to the psycho-social environment in children.

   Supervisors: Dr Oliver Robinson, Prof. Paolo Vineis

• Agnostic exploration of metabolomics to capture exposure to environment pollutants.

   Supervisors: Prof. Paolo Vineis, Dr Marc Chadeau-Hyam, Dr Sonia Dagnino

• Investigating molecular phenotypes of severe asthma: statistical and machine learning approach for OMICs profiling and integration.

   Supervisors: Prof. Marc Chadeau-Hyam, Prof. Fan Chung, Prof. Ian Adcock

• Investigating the effect of the internal and external exposome on Cardio Metabolic Health: a multi-OMIC and life course approach.

   Supervisors: Prof. Marc Chadeau-Hyam, Prof. Marjo-Riitta Jarvelin, Dr Evangelia Tzala

• Environmental risk factors of childhood diabetes.

   Supervisors: Dr Daniela Fecht, Prof. Ed Gregg

• Geographic and contextual variation in the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on the care and management of cardiometabolic conditions.

   Supervisor: Prof. Ed Gregg

• Inferring causal maps to understand how molecular biomarkers affect human phenotypes and disease.

   Supervisors: Dr Verena Zuber, Prof. Tim Ebbels

• Using machine learning methods to assess the effect of ultrafine particles on health around Gatwick airport.

   Supervisors: Prof. Marta Blangiardo, Dr Monica Pirani

• Model-based big data analytics: using Earth observations for mapping and predicting mosquito-borne disease outbreaks in Brazil.

   Supervisors: Dr Monica Pirani, Prof. Marta Blangiardo, Dr Francisco Chiravallotti-Neto

• Comparing spatio-temporal methods for the surveillance of non-communicable disease.

   Supervisors: Dr Fred Piel, Prof. Marta Blangiardo

• Using propensity scores and machine learning methods to assess the impact of multi-pollutant concentration on health.

   Supervisors: Prof. Marta Blangiardo, Dr Monica Pirani

• The role of environmental exposures on asthma severity and progression.

   Supervisors: Prof Jenny Quint (NHLI)

Full details of the projects can be found here



Applicants should have, or expect to receive, a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant life science or quantitative science subject and have strong statistical and computational skills.

Studentships include Home tuition fees and a stipend of £17,285 per annum.

PhD programmes starting 1st October 2021: Home/EU/International students are eligible for full stipend funding and Home tuition fees. EU nationals starting after 31st July 2021 will not be eligible for Home fee status. Successful EU and International candidates would be required to cover the difference between Home and International tuition fees.  Please see here information on current PhD tuition fees.

PhD programmes starting prior to 1st October 2021: EU/International candidates will need to discuss eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

The government has confirmed that tuition fee rates for EU students who commence their course before the 31st July 2021 and are eligible for a Home/EU fee status will not change for the full duration of the course.


The application form can be downloaded here. It should be completed electronically and e-mailed to

Applicants are not expected to have confirmed a PhD supervisor or project before applying, but should provide in their personal statement a clear description of the research area they wish to pursue during their PhD and select three projects from the list above as examples of research they would be interested in. Please note that we cannot guarantee that successful candidates will be assigned to their selected projects.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The closing date for applications is 30th October 2020.

You will receive a confirmation email within five working days of submitting your application. If you do not, please email to enquire about the status.
Successful candidates are expected to start their studentships no later than 1st October 2021.