Microplastics in Tasmanian soils

Microplastics in Tasmanian soils: evaluation and removal procedure - experimental and computer study

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Microplastics entering natural ecosystems has been a long recognised problem. In many cases the exact amount of microplastics being introduced into the food chain cannot be confirmed and the final effects are yet to be determined. While the topic has been extensively research in relation to marine environment there are still many gaps in understanding how microplastics enters the soil and what the consequences of that on general soil chemistry and physics as well as effect on the food chain are.

This research project is dedicated to identifying the microplastics component in Tasmanian soils and proposing the most efficient method for removing plastic particles from the soil. The research will be based on getting the thorough understanding of the processes involved in microplastics being introduced to soil and the chain of changes as the articles go through the processes of being absorbed by soil microorganisms and plants. The experimental component will be based on testing soil samples collected from different locations in Tasmania to determine the exact content of microplastics. The computer modelling part will be concerned with the propagation of micro-plastics in the ground, absorptions by plant and the progression in the food chain.

The final outcome of the project will be a theoretical framework and model for microplastics in Tasmanian soils which can be extended to other locations and provide the basis for the design and prototype of equipment to remove microplastics particles from affected soils.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Andrew Chan


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Undergraduate degree in soil or biological sciences, Civil or Environmental engineering

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Good skills in experimental work, field work and/or computer modelling.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof Andrew Chan to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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