Welsh Government PhD Placement: Microplastics in the freshwater environment and their interaction with other pollutants

Deadline for submission of applications: 15th July @ 15:00hrs (BST)

Microplastics in the freshwater environment is regarded as an emerging concern for environmental and drinking water quality. Research on microplastics in the marine environment is more advanced and there is a gap in understanding the pathways of microplastics pollution in the freshwater environment, and their potential implications on ecosystems and human health. At present, there is no statutory requirement to monitor microplastics in freshwater and drinking water (raw and treated water) in Wales. It is necessary to develop and understanding on this matter and establish an evidence-base, as well as identify knowledge gaps, in order to assess available policy and legislative options for the future.

The successful candidate will be required to outline the current state of play and collate existing ad ongoing research regarding the impact of microplastics in freshwater with specific focus on what is happening in this space in Wales and the UK. Due to the cross-cutting nature of the study, the post holder will need to engage with other policy areas in the Welsh Government, such as marine, agriculture and biodiversity. There will be a need to liaise with academic institutions, researchers and other key stakeholders to ensure all relevant angles have been taken into consideration. The objective of the placement is to establish a clear understanding of current research findings, highlighting key concerns for policy makers and explore available policy solutions and interventions. 

The remit of this placement falls under the portfolio of the Minister for Climate Change and supports delivery objectives identified under primary legislation such as the Environment Act and Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

The placement will be in the Water Policy Team which is responsible for developing bespoke policy for Wales to manage its water systems sustainably, including inland waters, estuaries and coastal waters. The team also oversees the effective functioning of Wales’ water industry and safeguards drinking water quality in line with statutory specifications.

For further details of the post and information about the application process please download this document:

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