PhD studentship opportunities in Environment and Health

We are pleased to invite applications for three 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 the following units:

  • Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (EBS) at Imperial College London 
  • Environmental Research Group (ERG)also at Imperial College London 
  • Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards (CRCE)at Public Health England 
  • Peter Gorer Department of Immunobiology at King’s College London 
  • School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences 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 at the University of Cambridge), health and environmental agencies (e.g. US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, the Environment 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 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 and with experience in at least one of the following areas:  

  • Environmental exposure assessment and epidemiology (including air pollution, noise, ionising and non-ionising radiation, waste management, water, climate change and health) 
  • Molecular signatures of exposures and disease pathways (including biomarkers, metabolic profiling, exposome, multi-omics analyses and modelling) 
  • Urban environments and health (including social, economic, behavioural and technological processes, inequalities) 
  • Biostatistics, data science and computational biology (including spatial epidemiology and small area studies, artificial intelligence, Bayesian nonparametric modelling) 
  • Cohorts and data resources (including 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)
Exposure and risk markers in medical uses of ionising radiation.
Supervisors: Prof. Bijan Modarai, Dr Samantha Terry

Breast Milk, Environment, and Early life Development (BEED) study.
Supervisors: Prof. Mireille Toledano

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 airway hyperresponsiveness (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

Drugs of Misuse
Supervisors: Dr Leon Barron, Dr Tim Marczylo, Prof Tim Gant

Improving evidence for, and understanding of, the impact of air pollution exposure during pregnancy on risk of pre-term birth
Supervisors: Dr Heather Walton, Dr Rachel B Smith

Air Pollution and infertility
Supervisors: Prof. Mireille Toledano, Dr Sean Beevers, Dr Giovanni Leonardi, Dr Nutthida Kitwiroon, Dr Rachel B Smith.

Assessing human health impacts from exposures to selected perfluorinated chemical compounds
Supervisors: Dr Fred Piel, Dr Ovnair Sepai, Dr Leon Barron

The role of macrophages in the defense of the lung from the potential harmful effects of advanced materials
Supervisors: Dr Rachel Smith, Dr Martin Leonard, Dr Chang Guo, Dr Stephanie Wright

Assessing the health impacts of exposure to residential air pollutants
Supervisors: Dr Ben Barratt, Dr Sani Dimitroulopoulou

Investigating concentration hot spots.
Supervisors: Dr Gary Fuller, Dr David Green, Dr Ben Barratt

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

Perceptions of air pollution, health and COVID in BAME communities
Supervisor: Dr Ben Barratt

Geographic and contextual variation in the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on the care and management of cardiometabolic conditions.
Supervisor: Prof. Ed Gregg

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

Full details of the projects can be found in the PhD Opportunities page


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 funding for Home tuition fees and a stipend of £17,285 per annum.

PhD programmes starting after 31 July 2021: 

  • All UK/EU/International candidates are eligible to apply for these studentships. 
  • EU nationals starting their PhD programmes after 31 July 2021 will no longer be eligible for Home fee status – they will be classed as International students. 
  • International candidates (i.e. all non-UK nationals) that are successfully awarded one of these studentships will 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 31 July 2021:

  • EU/International candidates will need to discuss eligibility on a case-by-case basis. 
  • The UK government has confirmed that tuition fee rates for EU students who commence their course before 31 July 2021 and are eligible for a Home 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.

Applications from candidates that have not been successful in the previous recruitment round for these studentships will also not be considered. 

The closing date for applications is 1 February 2021.  

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 1 October 2021.

The MRC Centre and the NIHR HPRUs are committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment.