“LimnoPlast – Microplastics in Europe’s freshwater ecosystems: From sources to solutions” is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network) and offers 15 fully funded PhD positions (for early-stage researcher (ESR)) with attractive complementary training activities and generous travel, laboratory and research budgets. The successful candidates will be hosted by a member of a European Consortium of universities, research institutions and companies in Germany, Denmark, France, Slovenia, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and The Netherlands. Successful candidates will have a research interest in natural, environmental, technical or social-science and will participate in a transdisciplinary network of research and training aimed at accelerating the applicants’ scientific careers.
LimnoPlast will for the first time bring together environmental, technical, and social sciences with the vision to transform a new understanding of freshwater microplastics to innovative solutions.
- Train a new type of scientists (ESRs) able to tackle the complex plastics issue holistically and contribute to Europe’s innovation and Circular Economy capacity. Working at the interface of three usually very distant disciplines, they will promote a step change in how we deal with this and future environmental challenges.
- Provide the first comprehensive assessment of the sources and impacts of freshwater MP based on the analysis of three major urban areas as hotspots of plastic pollution.
- Innovate technological solutions to the plastics issue, including novel processes to remove MP from municipal and industrial wastewater as well as bio-degradable, environmentally sound polymers.
- Promote societal change by understanding the economic, legislative and social context of freshwater MP.
- Transform science into a set of specific solutions, including (I) the prioritization of actions based on the sources and impacts of MP, development of (II) better processes and polymers, (III) risk communication strategies and societal interventions, (IV) effective policy and legislative interventions.
- Transfer the LimnoPlast outcomes to European decision makers, stakeholders and the public to enable and promote action on freshwater MP using an innovative communication and dissemination strategy.
Titles of the ESR-projects:
- Biological effects of microplastics from biodegradable plastics in freshwater invertebrates.
- Development and characterization of novel biodegradable polymers.
- Source tracking of microplastics at Aarhus.
- Monitoring and modelling microplastics in the greater Paris and the river Seine; pollutants associated with microplastics.
- Electrostatic separation of nanoplastics from wastewater.
- A socio-ecological assessment for microplastics to address the needs of future Circular Economy in Europe.
- Legal situation of microplastics in Europe’s freshwater ecosystems.
- Chemistry and bulk properties and degradation of microplastics.
- Ecotoxicology of different shapes of microplastics in freshwater invertebrates.
- Chemical toxicity of conventional and new plastics.
- Microplastics assessment in wasterwater treatment plant – occurrence, removal and fate.
- Chronic toxicity of microplastics in fish species.
- Risk perceptions and mental models regarding microplastics in freshwater systems and solutions.
- Behavioural approaches to the microplastics problem and potential solutions.
- From freshwater to drinking water and food-human exposure to microplastics.