Research Masters Opportunity - Pest-man deadline 18th December 2020


“Pest-Man: Pesticide management for better water quality”


An increasing world population means that there will be inevitably an increased demand for food. To address this, international policy has been towards intensification of agriculture. This has led to an increased intensity of farming practices in some countries, which is linked with the increased use of pesticides. There has been significant public debate regarding the environmental and human health risks of pesticide use. Productive debate is limited by misinformation, resulting from the lack of current scientific research from independent, unbiased research groups. Consequently, there is a need for an investigation into pesticide fate, impact and mitigation, using state-of-the-art methodology to provide independent, scientifically-grounded information for policy and decision makers in Ireland and the EU. The overarching aim of this proposal is to use a multidisciplinary approach merging soil processes, molecular biology, engineering, and quantitative risk assessment methodologies to: (1) understand the drivers and pressures for the use of pesticides in the environment, (2) examine their fate and persistence, (3) evaluate any potential impact and risks to the environment and human health, (4) develop a low-cost, passive, in-situ method to remediate pesticides in the environment, and (5) disseminate knowledge and engage stakeholders and the general public in the project.

The Masters student will be based at NUI Galway but will be part of a multi-disciplinary group comprising researchers from NUI Galway, Teagasc and University College Cork. They will primarily contribute to Objective 2 (examine fate and persistence of pesticides in the environment), with a focus on pesticide interactions with soil; however, some overlap with the other objectives is expected.

The Pest-Man project is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.


Applicants should have a good primary degree (First or Second Class Honours) in an appropriate discipline (Environmental Science, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Geography, etc.). The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and be prepared for laboratory work and extended periods of field work with modern analytical equipment. Evidence (scanned document) of a full driving licence is required. Applications without this will not be considered.


The student will be based at NUI Galway under the supervision of Dr Alma Siggins, Prof Mark Healy and Dr Liam Morrison. The Fellowship will start as soon as possible after the most suitable candidate is selected. The fellowship provides a stipend of €23,641. University fees are paid by the student from the stipend which is tenable for 2 years.

Further Information/Applications Dr Alma Siggins, Civil Engineering, NUI Galway, and Catchments Programme, Teagasc. Email:

Application Procedure Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a letter of interest to: Dr Alma Siggins (

Closing date 18th December, 2020.