University of Sussex - PhD Chemistry

Assessing the environmental impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides used as flea treatments on pets (2019)

A Ph.D. studentship (42 months) is available from October 2019 under the supervision of Prof Dave Goulson & Prof John Spencer, Department of Chemistry, School of Life Sciences. This funded position, which covers fees and a stipend at standard RCUK rates, is open to Home / EU applicants. Eligible candidates will have recently received an MSc and/or a First or high 2:1 BSc in a relevant subject. Candidates for whom English is not their first language will require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in any section.

What you get

  - Tuition fees at UK/EU rate 

  - Living expenses at £15,009 per year (tax free) in 2019-20 and rising in line with inflation 

  - Laboratory consumables and travel costs. 

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

While neonicotinoids have received great attention with respect to their use in agriculture as plant protection products, their use in veterinary medicine has been little studied. Imidacloprid, one of the neonicotinoids which the EU recently decided to ban from use in farming, it still widely used to protect domestic dogs, cats and rabbits from fleas and other parasites. The main alternative to imidacloprid is fipronil, which although not a neonicotinoid shares many properties with imidacloprid. These compounds are applied topically as “spot-on” applications to the neck of the animal. Imidacloprid is also used in impregnated collars. The environmental fate of these compounds when used in these ways has not been investigated, so we cannot at present assess whether such uses pose a significant risk to the environmental. In particular, risk to aquatic environments seems plausible, since the compounds are water soluble and many dogs like to swim in ponds and rivers.

 Here, we will:

1)    Estimate the number of pets treated, and the frequency of treatment, with flea treatments based on imidacloprid or fipronil, so that we can produce overall estimates of the quantities being used. This will be achieved through questionnaire surveys of pet owners.

2)    Experimentally treat dogs with imidacloprid spot-on, collar, and fipronil spot on, and quantify the amounts of active ingredient lost from the animal by different routes (washing off, shedding hair, urine, faeces), and how this changes with time post-application.

3)    Estimate the likely quantities of imidacloprid and fipronil entering the environment from treated pets, with a particular focus on aquatic environments.

4)    Overall, estimate the significance of flea treatments as a source of environmental contamination with these pesticides.

 

Overall, this work will fill major knowledge gaps, and substantially advance our understanding of the risks and benefits of current practices versus alternatives.

Eligibility

This funded position, which covers fees and a stipend at standard RCUK rates, is open to Home / EU applicants.

Eligible candidates will have recently received an MSc and/or a First or high 2:1 BSc in a relevant subject. Candidates for whom English is not their first language will require an IELTS score of 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in any section.

Deadline

17 July 2019 0:00

How to apply

How to apply:

Please submit a formal application using our online application system at http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/phd/apply, including a CV, degree transcripts and certificates, statement of interest and names of two academic referees. On the application system, use Programme of Study – PhD Chemistry

 Please make sure you include the project title and Supervisor’s name with your statement of interest on the application form.

 

 

 

Contact us

For enquiries about the application process contact Emma Chorley (lifesciphd@sussex.ac.uk)

For enquiries about the project contact Prof Dave Goulson (D.Goulson@sussex.ac.uk)

Background information can be found at: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lifesci/goulsonlab/  and http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lifesci/spencerlab/

Availability

At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
17 July 2019 0:00 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired

Countries

The award is available to people from these specific countries: