Research Fellow in Persistent Organic Pollutants

University of Birmingham

More jobs at University of Birmingham


United Kingdom

Position type:

Full time


£29,301 to £38,183

03 Jan 2017
22 Jan 2017

Full details:

Reference number: BIR-56489

Job Purpose

A Research Fellow position is available from April 1st 2017 onwards for 20 months to work on the project entitled “Furthering understanding of emissions from landfilled waste containing POP-BFRs and PFOS (FUEL)”. This postdoctoral position is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland. The main research goal of the FUEL project is to assess the potential for environmental contamination with PBDEs, HBCDDs, and PFOS arising from Irish landfills. To achieve this goal FUEL will undertake, in close collaboration with our partner at the National University of Ireland in Galway (NUIG), a carefully designed field programme to measure concentrations of the target contaminants in landfill leachate. Following this, PBDE, HBCDD, and PFOS concentrations will be measured in air, soil and groundwater taken from the vicinity of a sub-set of the landfills yielding the most contaminated leachate samples. Alongside this, a series of controlled laboratory experiments will be conducted to develop understanding of the rate and magnitude at which target contaminants leach from waste materials under simulated landfill conditions. The factors influencing such leaching will also be investigated in these experiments. These experiments will take as their starting point procedures developed previously at Birmingham.

The successful applicant will develop and apply analytical chemistry techniques to measure PBDEs, HBCDDs and PFOS in samples of landfill leachate, air, soil, and groundwater. A substantial component of the project will involve the use of trace analytical chemistry techniques such as GC-MS and LC-MS/MS. The postholder will be expected to undertake a small number of brief trips to Ireland (Dublin and Galway) to attend project steering committee meetings and provide guidance to the NUIG team in conducting the landfill sampling campaigns. They will also carry out in Birmingham the programme of laboratory leaching experiments with assistance from the NUIG PhD student who will be seconded to Birmingham during that time period.

Person Specification

  • • A PhD relevant to the subject area of the FUEL project – e.g. environmental chemistry, environmental analytical chemistry with particular application to persistent organic pollutants
  • • High level capability to analyse and interpret data
  • • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • • Fluency in analytical chemistry and sampling techniques for measuring persistent organic pollutants and ability to contribute to developing new ones
  • • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
  • • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes

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