EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Chemistry


An aerosol consists of solid particles or liquid droplets dispersed in a gas phase with sizes spanning from clusters of molecules (nanometres) to rain droplets (millimetres). Aerosol science is a term used to describe our understanding of the collective underlying physical science governing the properties and transformation of aerosols in a broad range of contexts, extending from drug delivery to the lungs to disease transmission, combustion and energy generation, materials processing, environmental science, and the delivery of agricultural and consumer products. Despite the commonality in the physical science core to all of these sectors, doctoral training in aerosol science has been focussed in specific contexts such as inhalation, the environment and materials. Representatives from these diverse sectors have reported that over 90% of their organisations experience difficulty in recruiting to research and technical roles requiring core expertise in aerosol science. Many of these will act as CDT partners and have co-created this bid.

We will establish a CDT in Aerosol Science that, for the first time on a global stage, will provide foundational and comprehensive training for doctoral scientists in the core physical science. Not only will this bring coherence to training in aerosol science in the UK, but it will catalyse new collaborations between researchers in different disciplines. Inverting the existing training paradigm will ensure that practitioners of the future have the technical agility and confidence to move between different application contexts, leading to exciting and innovative approaches to address the technological, societal and health challenges in aerosol science.

We will assemble a multidisciplinary team of supervisors from the Universities of Bristol, Bath, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Imperial, Leeds and Manchester, with expertise spanning chemistry, physics, biological sciences, chemical and mechanical engineering, life and medical sciences, pharmacy and pharmacology, and earth and environmental sciences. Such breadth is crucial to provide the broad perspective on aerosol science central to developing researchers able to address the challenges that fall at the boundaries between these disciplines. We will engage with partners from across the industrial, governmental and public sectors, and with the Aerosol Society of the UK and Ireland, to deliver a legacy of training packages and an online training portal for future practitioners. With partners, we have defined the key research competencies in aerosol science necessary for their employees. Partners will provide support through skills-training placements, co-sponsored studentships, and contribution to taught elements.

5 cohorts of 16 doctoral students will follow a period of intensive training in the core concepts of aerosol science with training placements in complementary application areas and with partners. In subsequent years we will continue to build the activity of the cohort through summer schools, workshops and conferences hosted by the Aerosol Society, virtual training and enhanced training activities, and student-led initiatives. The students will acquire a perspective of aerosol science that stretches beyond the artificial boundaries of traditional disciplines, seeing the commonalities in core physical science. A cohort-based approach will provide a national focal point for training, acting as a catalyst to assemble a multi-disciplinary team with the breadth of research activity to provide opportunities for students to undertake research in complementary areas of aerosol science, and a mechanism for delivering the broad academic ingredients necessary for core training in aerosol science. A network of highly-skilled doctoral practitioners in aerosol science will result, capable of addressing the biggest problems and ethical dilemmas of our age, such as healthy ageing, sustainable and safe consumer products, and climate geoengineering.

Planned Impact

Aerosol science has a significant impact on a broad range of disciplines, extending from inhaled drug delivery, to combustion science and its health impacts, aerosol assisted routes to materials, climate change, and the delivery of agricultural and consumer products. Estimates of the global aerosol market size suggest it will reach $84 billion/year by 2024 with products in the personal care, household, automotive, food, paints and medical sectors. Air pollution leads to an estimated 30-40,000 premature deaths each year in the UK, and aerosols transmit human and animal infections. More than 12 million people in the UK live with lung disease such as asthma, and the NHS spends ~£5 billion/year on respiratory therapies. Many of the technological, societal and health challenges central to these areas rely on core skills and knowledge of aerosol science. Despite this, an Industrial Workshop and online survey (held in preparation for this bid) highlighted the current doctoral skills gap in aerosol science in the UK. Participating industries reported that only 15% of their employees working with aerosol science at doctoral-level having received any formal training. A CDT in aerosol science, CAS, will fill this skills gap, impacting on all areas of science where core training in aerosol science is crucial.

Impact on the UK aerosol community: Aerosol scientists work across governmental policy, industrial research and innovation, and in academia. Despite the considerable overlap in training needs for researchers working in these diverse sectors, current doctoral training in aerosol science is fragmentary and ad hoc (e.g. the annual Fundamentals of Aerosol Science course delivered by the Aerosol Society). In addition, training occurs within the context of individual disciplines, reinforcing artificial subject boundaries. CAS will bring coherence to training in the core physical and engineering science of aerosols, catalysing new synergies in research, and providing a focal point for training a multidisciplinary community of researchers. Working with the Aerosol Society, we will establish a legacy by providing training resources for future researchers through an online training portal.

Impact on industry and public-sector partners: 45 organisations have indicated they will act as CAS partners with interests in respiratory therapies, public health, materials manufacturing, consumer and agricultural products, instrumentation, emissions and environment. Establishing CAS will deliver researchers with the necessary skills to ensure the UK establishes and sustains a scientific and technical lead in their sectors. Further, it will provide an ideal mechanism for delivering Continuing Professional Development for the existing workforce practitioners. The activity of CAS is aligned to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (e.g. through developing new healthcare technologies and new materials) and the EPSRC Prosperity Outcomes of a productive, healthy (e.g. novel treatments for respiratory disease) and resilient (e.g. adaptations to climate change, air quality) nation, with both the skilled researchers and their science naturally translating to long-lasting impact. Additionally, rigorous training in responsible innovation and ethical standards will lead to aerosol researchers able to contribute to developing: regulatory standards for medicines; policy on air quality and climate geoengineering; and regulations on manufactured nano-materials.

Public engagement: CAS will provide a focal point for engaging the public on topics in aerosol science that affect our daily lives (consumer products, materials) through to our health (inhalation therapeutics, disease transmission and impacts of pollution) and the future of our planet (geoengineering). Supported by a rigorous doctoral level training in aerosol science, this next generation of researchers will be ideally positioned to lead debates on all of these societal and technological challenges.



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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023593/1 31/03/2019 29/09/2027
2278799 Studentship EP/S023593/1 21/09/2019 29/09/2023 Maxamillian Moss
2277525 Studentship EP/S023593/1 22/09/2019 29/09/2023 Victoria Legh-Land
2476370 Studentship EP/S023593/1 22/09/2019 29/09/2023 Madeleine Reader
2266611 Studentship EP/S023593/1 22/09/2019 29/09/2023 Michael William Glerum
2269582 Studentship EP/S023593/1 22/09/2019 21/09/2023 Rui Wang
2274588 Studentship EP/S023593/1 22/09/2019 29/09/2023 Joshua Harrison
2476350 Studentship EP/S023593/1 22/09/2019 29/09/2023 Thomas Hilditch
2269473 Studentship EP/S023593/1 22/09/2019 29/09/2023 Jamie William Knight
2274775 Studentship EP/S023593/1 29/09/2019 29/09/2023 Max Robson
2281488 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 George Adams
2274780 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Peter Knapp
2279203 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2019 31/12/2023 Kathleen Thompson
2275016 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2023 Khaled Alzahabi
2438445 Studentship EP/S023593/1 20/09/2020 29/09/2024 Robert William Alexander
2438448 Studentship EP/S023593/1 20/09/2020 08/05/2022 Hannah Louise Jarvis
2440301 Studentship EP/S023593/1 20/09/2020 29/09/2024 Jianghan Tian
2440391 Studentship EP/S023593/1 20/09/2020 29/09/2024 Fergus Lidstone-Lane
2440396 Studentship EP/S023593/1 20/09/2020 29/09/2024 Olivia Jackson
2440245 Studentship EP/S023593/1 20/09/2020 29/09/2024 Edward Dominic Neal
2440172 Studentship EP/S023593/1 20/09/2020 29/09/2024 Yiliang Lance Jiang
2440012 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Frederick Bertani
2441053 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Robert Lewis
2446834 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Stanislaw Koper
2439567 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2020 17/07/2021 Callum Aidan Robinson
2440023 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Joshua Hassim
2444975 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Altin Kocinaj
2436244 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Jack MACKLIN
2441270 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 ELINOR TIGERLILY VOKES
2439557 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Joanna Victoria Egan
2435530 Studentship EP/S023593/1 02/10/2020 01/10/2024 George Downing
2435517 Studentship EP/S023593/1 02/10/2020 01/10/2024 Georgia Gamble
2446873 Studentship EP/S023593/1 01/11/2020 31/10/2024 Caterina Fantuzzi
2598149 Studentship EP/S023593/1 31/08/2021 29/09/2025 Priya Chopra
2594825 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 29/09/2025 Joseph Morris
2597742 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 29/09/2025 Gwen Lawson
2593499 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 01/10/2025 Joel Ponsonby
2598284 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 29/09/2025 Kelvin Risby
2593441 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 01/10/2025 Alexander Mitchener
2594587 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 29/09/2025 Samuel Hyman
2597741 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 29/09/2025 Barnaby Miles
2597738 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 29/09/2025 Prem Kumar Perumal
2595729 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 29/09/2025 Polly Beth Foster
2596645 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 29/09/2025 Hao Zhang
2598336 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 29/09/2025 Aaron Varzdari-Barber
2595737 Studentship EP/S023593/1 19/09/2021 29/09/2025 Abigail Rose McConnell
2595663 Studentship EP/S023593/1 29/09/2021 31/10/2022 Edward Neil Benfield
2599359 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Jamie MCLAUCHLAN
2596021 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Benjamin Mignot
2599356 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Mahmoud AHMED
2599180 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Skhathisomusa Mthembu
2738298 Studentship EP/S023593/1 31/08/2022 29/09/2026 Daisy Ann Ashton
2738356 Studentship EP/S023593/1 31/08/2022 29/09/2026 Hessam Rasooli Nia
2736919 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Kennedy Peek
2721827 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Oliver Driver
2736445 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Joshua David BUCKINGHAM
2745230 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Xu Zhang
2736986 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Sorrel Haughton
2721869 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Erin Kiely
2736504 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Thomas Francis O'Hara
2736850 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Charlie Stainton-Bygrave
2738730 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Ujjawal Arora
2736672 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Conlan Broderick
2738797 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Stephen Robertson
2738824 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Samantha Hall
2736899 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Gregory Marsden
2737254 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 19/03/2027 Simon Bate
2721836 Studentship EP/S023593/1 18/09/2022 29/09/2026 Melih Engur
2743380 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Faizan Ahmad
2758026 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Siriel Lars Saladin
2750078 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Joshua David BUCKINGHAM
2721756 Studentship EP/S023593/1 30/09/2022 29/09/2026 Henry Blake