Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



Department of Geography

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.

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.

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

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