nile red fluorescence to detect, characterise, and quantify micro-nano-plastics in wastewater

Type of project: MSc Thesis/internship
Starting date: November 2023
Duration: 5-6 months
Location: Wetsus Research Institute, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

There are a few possibilities for allowances:
– The allowance for students is €200. The student can apply for ‘Wetsus Grant’ allowance (€200 extra; an internal committee decides if the allowance will be granted).
– Students can apply for Erasmus; (if the Erasmus grant is less than €400, the student can apply for the Wetsus Grant).
– Erasmus
*The Wetsus Grant allowance is not guaranteed and must be approved by the Grant Committee.


Micro-nano-plastics (MNPs) are a major concern to drinking water sources and aquatic ecosystems globally. MNPs are typically invisible to the eye and originate from various sources such as the breakdown of larger plastic items, synthetic textiles, and microbeads in cleaning and personal care products.

Here at Wetsus, we are helping to reduce this problem. To achieve this goal, we use a range of analytical methods to fully understand the MNPs within the sample. You will work in a team and help us develop these methods, whilst working on real wastewater samples.

Project description:

Nile Red is highly effective in MNP research due to its strong affinity for hydrophobic compounds such as synthetic polymers. When Nile Red binds to an MNP, it causes them to emit a distinctive and easily detectable fluorescence. In this project, you will use our fluorescence microscope to generate datasets and use software (e.g., ImageJ) to process the data accordingly. You will help us estimate the concentration of MNPs in a given sample.


  • Gain hands-on experience and training with advanced analytical equipment.
  • Expertise on how to process and analyse MNPs samples from start to finish.
  • Contribute to scientific articles and publish findings in leading peer-reviewed journals.
  • Be part of the vibrant Wetsus community, and work with colleagues from around the world.
  • Depending on your situation you will receive a €200 to €400 monthly allowance.


  • Currently enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s study in a scientific discipline with ​laboratory experience.
  • Ambitious, motivated, willing to learn, and ability to work independently.
  • Interest in sustainability, science and water technology.
  • Fluency in English (speaking, writing and communication skills).
  • Enrolment at European university. For non-EU citizens enrolment at a Dutch university is required.

Your application:

Please contact Alexander Finnegan for more information and/or apply directly by filling in the application form below. Please include “Project A” or “Nile Red project” in the message.

Application form: Utilising Nile Red fluorescence to detect, characterise, and quantify micro-nano-plastics in wastewater

  • Max. bestandsgrootte: 1 GB.
  • Max. bestandsgrootte: 1 GB.