NEW! 4-year fully funded PhD position available

6 Jun 2018

The impact of organic matter on heavy metal bioavailability in urban soils: experimental and field-based approaches

Heavy metal (HM) contamination in urban soils is a major global geohazard, but data on this issue in Ireland is lacking, particularly the extent to which the amount and type of soil organic matter affects the bioavailability and chemical state of HM. The proposed research will resolve these issues using a powerful dual approach combining the first systematic survey of urban soils in southern Ireland, focussing on soils in recreational areas, and innovative laboratory experiments exploring the impact of different sources of organic matter on heavy metal solubility, oxidation state and local chemical environment. The study will provide baseline data on the extent and toxicity of HM contamination in Irish urban recreational soils, guiding planning and bioremediation, and will serve as a platform for developing research capacity on the fate of HM in the geosphere. Diverse dissemination activities will ensure visibility of the research amongst academics, policymakers and the public.

The project is funded under the iCRAG – GSI Environmental Geosciences PhD Programme and is supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the GSI.

Projects are fully funded for four years with a stipend of €18,500 per annum plus fees for EU applicants.


Key dates

Project start date: 3rd September 2018

Application deadline: 1 pm Friday 22 June 2018

How to apply

Applications must be submitted via the online application portal before the application deadline. If you have any queries about the application process, please email:

More information


Maria McNamara Research Group

Experimental and analytical taphonomy

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork (UCC), Butler Building, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, T23 TK30, Ireland