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School of Geography

Improving understanding of veterinary medicine degradation and fate in organic fertilisers and anaerobic digestion plants (VetMedDeg)

Fully funded NERC Industrial CASE studentship

Supervisors: Dr Paul Kay (University of Leeds), Dr Chris Sinclair (Fera Science Ltd)

Contact email: p.kay(at)

Start date: 1 January 2018

Closing date for applications 15 November 2017

UK and EU applicants are eligible to apply


The presence of veterinary medicines in the environment has been investigated since the late 1990’s (Halling-Sorensen et al., 1998) although we still know very little about their environmental fate (Grant et al., 2012; Slana and Sollner Dollenc, 2013; Jechalke et al., 2014). This is important as the Veterinary Medicines Directive necessitates that veterinary medicines are assessed for environmental risk and appropriate measures are put in place to mitigate against suspected negative environmental impacts.

The central hypothesis that the project will test is that with an improved understanding of veterinary medicine degradation pathways we can mitigate environmental impacts by adopting the use of particular management options. These may include organic amendment storage, use of on-farm anearobic digestors, and avoidance of compounds with the longest half-lives. Specific work packages will investigate the effect of fertiliser type on degradation rates, the influence of storage facilities including on-farm anaerobic digestion on veterinary medicine fate, and the effect of fertiliser application method.

CASE partner

The student will benefit from training by and work in collaboration with Fera Science Ltd.

Suitable candidates will have, or be close to gaining, a good undergraduate degree (1st class or 2.1) or an MSc in a suitable discipline, such as geography, environmental science, or chemistry. This project is open to UK and citizens.

Funding and how to apply

This is a fully-funded 4 year studentship providing full UK/EU level fees and a tax-free maintenance stipend of  £14,553*pa. The studentship also provides some additional research expenses.  To apply, please submit an application for study and the required supporting documents listed here by 15 November 2017

*UK Research Council stipend rate for 2017/18