Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences

Start dates

February and October

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

There's an ongoing debate about whether unsightly biological growth on heritage sites protects or decays the underlying stone. As climate changes, the 'greening' of historic monuments is likely to increase, so understanding the impact of microbiological activity is important.

On this self-funded PhD programme, you'll analyse the impact of microbiological growth on heritage stone, to investigate the nature and intensity of decay or protection of the stones' surface.

It is supervised by Dr Robert Inkpen and Dr Joy Watts.

The work will include:

  • using laboratory and field based methods to analyse the impact of microbiological growth on heritage stone
  • identifying key organisms and their associated ecologies on Portland stone surfaces in urban and rural environments in Hampshire
  • using these results for detailed work in the spatial and temporal variations in the nature and intensity of microbiologically induced decay or protection of the stone surface

Molecular tools will be used to identify and fingerprint microbial communities present on the stone surface.

Using destructive and non-destructive techniques, such as laser scanning, changes in the characteristics of the stone under different ecologies will be analysed.

The results of this work will help conservators to decide the most appropriate management strategy for dealing with increased microbiological activity.

Fees and funding

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

2021/2022 fees (applicable for October 2021 and February 2022 start)

PhD and MPhil

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,500 p/a**

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,250 p/a**

International full-time students: £17,600 p/a*

International part-time students: £8,800 p/a*

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,407*

Members of staff: £1,720 

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.

*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021.

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

General Admissions Criteria

  • A good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending on the course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject
  • Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0
  • All applicants are subject to interview

How to apply

To make an enquiry about this project, get in touch with the PhD Supervisor for this programme, Dr Robert Inkpen,, or Dr Joy Watts,, quoting the project code GEOG2980217 and title.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. 

You can also visit our How to Apply pages to get a better understanding of how the PhD application process works.

October start

Apply now

February start

Apply now

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