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Research Interests

Since taking up my academic post in 2013 my research has, primarily, focused on the development of sustainable materials for a circular economy, specifically in the arena of polymer products and bio-based polymer alternatives.

The quantities of waste being generated across the EU, indeed globally, represent a huge cost for society and a burden on the environment. Concurrently they present a valuable stock of resources that can and should be exploited. One particular industry ripe with opportunity is the agri-food sector which, in my opinion, contains an array of waste streams or by-products where increased added value can be attained.

The long term research potential in waste recovery, processing and revalorisation is extremely high as demonstrated by increasingly stringent local and international legislation. This is providing impetus for improved resource efficiency with a strong emphasis being placed on food and drink, the built environment and manufactured goods.

My current projects include “Consumer and Manufacturing Driven Alternative Packaging Solutions from Agri-Food Waste Streams” funded through the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) and “Advancing Creative Circular Economies for Plastics via Technological-Social Transitions (ACCEPT Transitions)” funded through EPSRC.


My IMechE accredited Masters Degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (QUB 2000-2005, including a 13 month industrial placement with BS Tooling Ltd) provides me with extensive knowledge in a range of core engineering disciplines. It has proved to be an excellent foundation on which I have begun to build a research and academic career.

My PhD (QUB 2005-2008) entitled “The Development of Bone Substitutes Based on Biomimetic Structures” was a multidisciplinary endeavour to develop manufacturing processes to replicate the unique architecture of human bone. My approach was to seek out abundant and replenishable natural sources with architectures similar to bone and attempt to replicate them. Sources included calcified algae, coral, and various marine sponges. Attaining an architecture which encourages bone ingrowth is crucial, but is by no means the sole requirement to create a successful bone substitute. Biocompatibility and mechanical stability are also essential. Reconciling these, sometimes competing requirements, was a challenge I enjoyed hugely.

Four post-doctoral research projects (listed) provide me with broad material processing, characterisation, product development and project management skills.

Development of Sustainable & Energy Efficient Concrete Via Integration of Industrial Waste Materials (FP7 Research Fellow, QUB, Oct 2012-July 2013) 

Development of CP Cement incorporating Human Derived Collagen and Demineralised Bone (Research Fellow, Liverpool NHS Blood and Transplant Unit/QUB, Sept 2011-Sept 2012)

Development of a Novel Antibiotic Loaded Bone Cement (Research Assistant, QUB, March 2010–August 2011

Biomedical Device Development - A Novel Pre-filled Orthopaedic Mixing and Delivery System (Research Assistant, QUB, Jan 2009 - Feb 2010


Level 1: Introduction to Product Design Engineering and Mechanical Engineering (MEE1033 & 1034)

Level 3: Projects (MEE3030)

Level 4: Projects (MEE4040, 7012 & AER4002)


Royal Academy of Engineering Grant to Present on the ‘Novel Development and Validation of Biomimetic Tissue Engineered Bone Scaffold’’ to the European Society of Biomaterials (ESB) in Lausanne Switzerland September 2009

Finalist: Engineers Ireland Biomedical Research Medal Sponsored by Georgia Tech Ireland (GTI) January 2009

First Place Best Oral Presentation UK Society of Biomaterials (UKSB) Conference June 2008

Finalist in Northern Ireland Science Park’s £25K Business Plan Awards 2008  ‘Orthocorp’ Ltd – Synthetic Bone

Northern Ireland BioEngineering Society (NIBES) Conference prize for Presentation Demonstrating the Most Novel Use of Materials April 2008

Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) Travel Grant to work in Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, March-April 2008 Recognised as one of the finest tissue engineering labs in Europe, it specialises in culturing human cells onto three dimensional bone scaffolds

Stanford University Scholarship for ‘Roundtable on Entrepreneurship Education’ Oct 2007.

First Place Sir Bernard Crossland Symposium Presentation Prize Queen’s Final 2006 Belfast

Second Place - Institute of Materials Lecture Competition UK Final April 2006 London

First Place - Institute of Materials Lecture Competition Ireland Final February 2006 Belfast

Finalist in Investment Belfast’s £25K Business Innovation Award 2005 - ‘Orthocorp’ Ltd - Cement Optimisation and Delivery Systems

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


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