• Room 01.027 - David Keir Building

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD Applications in the following areas:
• Circular Economy, (design of materials to be easily recycled and reused)
• Land and Groundwater Quality - Investigation, risk assessment and sustainable remediation
• Mechanisms around the restoration and monitoring of peatlands


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I am an academic who applies chemistry, geophysics and microbiology to environmental problems to produce viable engineering solutions. My interests are: The Circular Economy, Reuse & Recovery of Hazardous & Valuable Materials, Restoration of Peatlands, Sustainable Remediation of Pollution, Identification and apportionment of Potentially Toxic Elements



Principal Investigator - Biochar from AD Digestate: A Circular Solution for Carbon Sequestration from Agriculture through Sustainable Concrete in Northern Ireland.2023- 2025 Value to QUB £182,000

Principal InvestigatorUS Ireland 154 Multi-scale Investigation of Bio-Based Mineral Precipitation in Carbonate Bearing Granular Soils and Construction Waste (2020-2023) Value to QUB £299,995 Total Project Value £1.2Million

Chief Scientist & Lead Co-ordinator EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks  REMEDIATE (2014 -2018) Total Project Value €4 million – Value to QUB €1.1 million 

Principal Investigator – NERC Multidisciplinary Methods to Monitor and Manage Blanket Bogs 2018

Principal Investigator – SBRI project BEST ’BioElectrochemical Systems & Technology’ (2017)

EU H2020 MSCA International Fellowship Zoltan Sas ‘ByBM’ By Products for Building Materials (2016-2018)

 Faculty member of Student Experience Committee 2021-2023

 Academic Lead of Stable Isotope Facility at QUB 2014-2020

 Editorial Activity – STOTEN – VSI – MSCA Remediate 2018-19

 Editorial Activity – Interpretation 2015 – Special Section on Characterisation and Monitoring of Subsurface Contamination 

 ISEH 2016 Scientific and Organizing Committee Member

 UK Member EU Cost Network – Norm4Building 2013 -2017

 Elected to Scientific and Technical Committee - Chartered Institute of Wastes Management 2013-16

 Chair of School Safety committee 2008-2013

 Faculty representative – Major incident group and hazardous materials sub group 2009-2011

 Level 4 Advisor of Studies – Civil Engineering 2018 -


Industry and Community Engagement

Knowledge Transfer Partnership – Northstone – Low carbon Rooftiles 2024-2026

Knowledge Transfer Partnership – Somerville – Circular solutions for Applestore Furniture 2022-2024

Knowledge Transfer Partnership – Recon Waste Management – Recycled construction materials  2023

 Award winning - Fusion Project - Environmental Forensics with CLS labs Galway –2014-2016 Total Project Value €145,500

 EU ITN REMEDIATE – Project partners include, Belfast City Council, Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, RSK, University Sao Paolo

 Politics Plus - MLA Scientist Pairing Scheme 2014

 Founding member of the Ireland Brownfield Network 2012 – over 500 members and rising!


 PhD Supervision 

 15 students supervised to completion 7 as first supervisor

 4 actively researching projects


Professional Memberships / Affiliations

 Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (FCIWM)

 Member of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (MCIWM) 

 ORCID ID 0000-0001-7583-0592,  Google Scholar , LinkedinResearchgate,

Research Interests

Research Statement

Research Area - The Circular Economy 

The Circular Economy is based around good design of products that can be reused and upcycled into a second, third, fourth life. My area of interest is how to regain value from materials that are often costly and difficult to manage – hazardous wastes. I am interested in how to regain value from by either the recovery of valuable materials (metals) or the reuse of these materials into products that pose no harm to health or the environment. Costs are saved through reduction in disposal and by the value of the new products. Projects include  EU H2020 IF By Products For Building Materials ‘By-BM’ with Research Fellow Zoltan Sas , Innovate UK REcovery and uSe of Cement kIN Dust as the alkali Activator for Geopolymeric (Cementless) Concrete Building Blocks ‘ RESCIND’ and EU Cost Action ‘NORM4Building’ & PhD Student Liz Gilligan 



Research Area - Biogeophysics / Bio-Electrochemical systems

Biogeophysics is an emerging discipline that utilises near surface geophysical methods (self potential, induced polarisation) to measure and modify biogeochemical environments (contaminant plumes, changes in redox state and microbial activity) in real time. These methods are of interest as they have low cost, inexpensive, non intrusive attributes - making them good candidates as sustainable remediation tools. There is promise for transfer of these methods to monitor and eventually help design biological systems such as waste water treatment, anaerobic digestion, and contaminated land technologies. Projects include REMEDIATE PhD Candidate PanagiotisKirmizakis and BEST ‘BioElectrochemical Systems and Technology’


Research Area - Geogenic and anthropogenic sources that affect land quality.

Urban and rural areas may also have significant sources of diffuse contamination from air pollution or from naturally occurring mineralised soils. We attempt to map and characterise the geological and industrial legacy of these sources. Projects include: PhD Candidate Laura McAnallen who is working on the effectiveness of peatland restoration using isotopic, biogeochemical and geophysical approaches. & REMEDIATE PhD Candidate Tatiana Cocerva who is developing Bioaccessibility methods to characterise urban soils.




The majority of my teaching is at postgraduate or final year level. I use my industrial experience to make my environmental engineering modules as relevant as possible, giving students the key skills that they will require as environmental engineers and scientists.

I incorporate the latest guidance and tools as part of the taught and assessed courses to give students the advantage as they enter the job market. 

Current modules 

CIV7039 Assessment of Environmental Impacts (Co-ordinator)

CIV4059 Assessment of Environmental Impacts (Co-ordinator)

CIV3007 Design 3 

Past Modules 

CIV3006 Project 3 (Co-ordinator)

CIV7040 Land Water & Air Quality (Co-ordinator)

CIV4040 Land Water & Air Quality (Co-ordinator)

CIV7019 Modelling of Contaminant Transport (Co-ordinator)

CIV8039 Sustainable Wastes Management (Co-ordinator)




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 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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