Biospheric Microplastics project update

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As you will know from reading our first blog, we recently launched the Biospheric Microplastics Research Cluster. Over the past few weeks we have been busily working away on our cluster and we thought we’d share with you some updates:


We’re currently mid-way through recruitment of a Research Fellow in Biospheric Microplastics. The successful candidate will work across the institution and play an integral role in the cluster, supporting us to achieve our aims to address critical gaps in the microplastics research landscape. This is a really exciting step for us as a cluster.

Student research

We currently have 5 undergraduate and 12 postgraduate research projects investigating a range of microplastic research questions. It’s been great to get our students involved with our research and see them be as passionate as we are about microplastics. We’ve included some pictures below of one of our students conducting research in the field.

Opportunities to join the cluster

We have several opportunities to join our research cluster on our MRes Applied Sciences programme, titles and programme link below. Please contact Dr Stephanie Sargeant for more information. All titles are part of the UWE Bristol Biospheric Microplastics Research Cluster (UWE BMRC):

  • Modelling airborne microplastic dispersion
  • Investigating the plastisphere: microbial communities on plastic debris
  • Developing standardised methods for airborne microplastic sampling and analysis
  • Quantifying the role of macroalgae in trapping and accumulating microplastics
  • Investigating the human health implications of environmentally sourced airborne  microplastics
  • UWE Bristol MRes Applied Sciences: course details

We look forward to sharing more updates with you soon,

Dr Stephanie Sargent and Dr Ben Williams

Welcome to the Biospheric Microplastics Research Cluster (BMRC) blog

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Welcome to the Biospheric Microplastics Research Cluster (BMRC) blog where we plan to share with you the latest updates from the BMRC.

Microplastic pollution is a considerable emerging health and ecological crisis on a global scale. The BMRC, building on microplastic research across UWE Bristol, aims to address critical gaps in the microplastics research landscape, notably the association between environmental exposure to microplastics through source, pathway, receptor relationships, and their potential to cause harm.

The BMRC brings together expertise from multiple disciplines, all of which play a crucial role in understanding the impact of microplastics on human and ecosystem health, expanding research excellence and enhancing teaching across the university landscape.

Through understanding the human and ecosystem health implications of plastics, there is an opportunity to contribute to their redesign, reuse and replacement throughout society. The research ambitions of the BMRC closely align with the UWE Bristol 2030 Strategy and at an organisational level UWE Bristol has pledged its support to the UK Plastic Pact.

Supporting and developing researchers of the future is a core value of this cluster and is integral to the success of this project. The range of expertise and experience (Research Fellow to Professor) brought together by this cluster provides a unique and powerful perspective to yield a significant impact on this novel field of research. The cluster is led by Dr Ben Williams, Senior Research Fellow and Dr Stephanie Sargeant, Senior Lecturer.  

The BMRC will bring together and draw on existing networks, including those with the Microfibre Consortium, UK/China microplastics network, UK Environmental Mutagen Society, but will also establish new networks through activities including the development and chairing of a cross disciplinary microplastics conference.

The diversity of opportunity will ensure that skills, knowledge and expertise are not just embedded in the current cluster, but in building upon existing research excellence and developing the next generation of researchers at UWE Bristol.

We look forward to sharing with you developments from this research cluster.

This research cluster is funded through the Expanding Research Excellence scheme at UWE Bristol. The scheme aims to support and develop interdisciplinary, challenge-led research across the University. It is designed to bring together research clusters or networks that will work together to respond to challenges (local, regional, national, global) aligned with major research themes.

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