PHD Scholarship: Assessment and Mitigation of Microplastics (MPs) In the Dairy Foods| Teagasc

PhD PHD Scholarship: Assessment and Mitigation of Microplastics (MPs) In the Dairy Foods| Teagasc

Deadline:  01 December 2023

I. Background

Plastic is the most widely used synthetic material and plays an important role in the agriculture and food sectors. However, plastic products and plastic waste can release microplastics (MPs). MPs are non biodegradable. They are accumulating in the aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric environment and can get into the food chains. Microplastic contamination of the environment and our food chains is one of the biggest challenges facing society today.


While environmental exposure due to plastic waste degradation is well recognised, personal exposure due to MPs in foods has an even greater potential risk to human health. While MPs have been found in livestock feed, milk, meat and human blood, how MPs contaminating dairy foods hasn’t been well studied.

The objective of this project is to assess and mitigate MPs pollution in dairy food supply chain. Specifically, the project will develop efficient and cost effective technologies for MPs detection in dairy products, with a focus on milk and milk powders; assess the MPs levels in dairy products; identify potential MPs pollution sources at different stages of the food supply chain – processing, packaging and delivery; develop solutions to mitigate/reduce MPs pollution in dairy industry.

The successful doctoral candidate will be jointly supervised by Prof. Song Miao, Prof. Mark Fenelon (Teagasc Food Research Centre Moorepark) and Prof Liwen Xiao, Dr. Jingjing Wang (Trinity College Dublin). The candidate will be principally located at Teagasc Moorepark, and will be registered as a PhD student at TCD with periods there for course work, supervisory meetings and some laboratory work.

  1. Benefits.
  • The scholarship will start as soon as possible after December 1st 2023.
  • The Scholarship provides a stipend of €25,000 per annum, which comprises of fees up to a maximum of €6,000 per annum (or approx. €9000 per annum for Non-EU students), and a flat rate stipend of €19,000 per annum and is tenable for 4 years.
  • This scholarship is to provide an individual the opportunity to undertake a research PhD.
  • The Scholarship is a joint research project between Trinity College Dublin and Teagasc Food research Centre, Moorepark.

III. Requirements

  • Applicants should have a minimum of a 2.1 undergraduate degree (or a minimum of a 2.2-degree and a master’s degree) in Dairy science, Biochemistry, Analytical Chemistry or related discipline.
  • Experience in the area of analytical chemistry, instrumental analysis and data analysis is an advantage.
  • The applicant should be self-motivated, interactive and willing to learn new techniques with the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • The candidate must be proficient in both written and spoken English.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency as per TCD regulations.
  1. Application Procedure
  • Please send a one-page letter briefly outlining your reasons for applying for this PhD and a current two-page CV detailing your education and research experience, and including the names of two referees simultaneously to: [email protected] and [email protected].
  • Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place in December/early January.
  1. Contact Information
  • Please contact the following for more information and guidance regarding the scholarship and making an application.
  • If you are interested in making an application, we encourage you to reach out in advance of your submission:
  1. Prof. Song Miao, Food Material Science and Structure Design, Teagasc Food Research Center Moorepark, Tel: +353 (0) 25 42468, Email [email protected].
  2. Prof. Liwen Xiao, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering; Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland; Tel: +353 1 896 2800, Email: [email protected]

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