1988 …2023

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Personal profile

Research Interests

My main research interests focus on photocatalytic technologies for treatment of waste and potable water and solar energy conversion and storage. The other main area of research is in the development of sensor technologies to for remote environments, such as the development of in-situ multicapability array sensors for heavy metal pollution in the marine and contaminated land environments.


On completion of my D.Phil in 1989 I joined the Faraday Centre a spinout company from Carlow Institute of Technology in Ireland. In March 1991 I moved to the Northern Ireland Civil Service as a Higher Scientific Officer attached to the Industrial Research and Technology Unit. 

I joined the staff of the School of Applied Sciences at Robert Gordon University in 1995 where I was involved in teaching and research in environmental science and technology, analytical science and photocatalysis. In July 2000 I was appointed to the Chair of Energy and Environmental Engineering in the School of Mechanical and Offshore Engineering at RGU where I established the multidisciplinary Centre for Research in Energy and the Environment.  I subsequently was appointed as Vice-Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) at Robert Gordon University in September 2006. In January 2015 I joined the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast as Professor of Chemical Engineering and was subsequently Head of School between March 2016 and August 2018. 

I am a member of the REF2021 Subpanel 8 (Chemistry), EPSRCs Strategic Advisory Network, EPSRC Scientific Advisory Committee on Energy, the EPSRC High-level Group for the SUPERGEN Programme, Chair of the Royal Irish Academy’s Physical Chemical and Mathematical Sciences Committee and a member of the Energy Institute’s Accreditation and Individual Circumstances Panels. In 2013 I was appointed to the Detao Masters Academy in Beijing as a Master in Photocatalytic Technology. I was a non-executive director of Gas2 Ltd (2012-2014), Aberdeen’s Satrosphere Science Centre (2006-2014) and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) (2006-2010). I was a member of the Universities Scotland Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee (2006-2014) and was a member of the Northern Ireland Water Council (2003-2007), the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Heads of Chemistry Standing Committee (2016-2018), Heads of Chemical Engineering UK Committee (2016-2018) and the Council of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland (2016-2019).

I am a member of the editorial board of Journal of Physics Energy and an Invited Editor of The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry Series Published by Springer Verlag, specifically co-editor of Volumes II and III on Environmental Photochemistry. I am a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Scientist and Chartered Chemist, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Chemistry in Ireland and the Energy Institute. I am also an Associate Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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