• 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 output per year

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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.



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)

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

Academic Lead of Stable Isotope Facility at QUB 2014

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

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 450 members and rising!


PhD Supervision 

8 students supervised to completion 4 as first supervisor

6 actively researching projects


Professional Memberships / Affiliations

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Member of the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (MCIWM) 


ORCID ID 0000-0001-7583-0592Google Scholar MendeleyLinkedin

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 

CIV3007 Design 3 (Co-ordinator)

CIV3006 Project 3 (Co-ordinator)

CIV7040 Land Water & Air Quality (Co-ordinator)

CIV4040 Land Water & Air Quality (Co-ordinator)

CIV7039 Assessment of Environmental Impacts 

CIV4059 Assessment of Environmental Impacts

CIV7019 Modelling of Contaminant Transport (Co-ordinator)




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Research Output

Enhancement of gasworks groundwater remediation by coupling a bio-electrochemical and activated carbon system

Kirmizakis, P., Doherty, R., Mendonça, C. A., Costeira, R., Allen, C. C. R., Ofterdinger, U. S. & Kulakov, L., 01 Apr 2019, In : Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 26, 10, p. 9981-9991 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    177 Downloads (Pure)

    Combined use of geophysical and geochemical methods to assess areas of active, degrading and restored blanket bog

    McAnallen, L., Doherty, R., Donohue, S., Kirmizakis, P. & Mendonça, C., 15 Apr 2018, In : Science of the Total Environment. 621, p. 762-771 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 276 Downloads (Pure)

    Chronic kidney disease of unknown origin is associated with environmental urbanisation in Belfast, UK

    McKinley, J., Mueller, U., Atkinson, P., Ofterdinger, U., Cox, S., Doherty, R., Fogarty, D., Pawlowsky-Glahn, V. & Egozcue, J. J., 24 Jun 2020, In : Environmental Geochemistry and Health. 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 14 Downloads (Pure)

    Technical challenges and opportunities in realising a circular economy for waste photovoltaic modules

    Farrell, C., Osman Ahmed, A. O., Doherty, R., Saad, M., Zhang, X., Murphy, A., Harrison, J., Vennard, A., Kumaravel, V., Al-Muhtaseb, A. H. & Rooney, D., 27 May 2020, In : Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 128

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 6 Citations (Scopus)
    51 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 9 Citations (Scopus)
    346 Downloads (Pure)


    Shortlisted for "Most Inspirational Teaching"

    Doherty, Rory (Recipient), Apr 2018

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

    Champions of EU Research

    Doherty, Rory (Recipient) & Larkin, Mike (Recipient), 28 Jun 2017

    Prize: National/international honour

  • FUSION Project Exemplar Award

    Doherty, Rory (Recipient), 25 Jan 2017

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


    The Science of the total environment (Journal)

    Rory Doherty (Guest editor)

    2018Mar 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

    Chemosphere (Journal)

    Rory Doherty (Peer reviewer)

    2019 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    Sustainable Development Goals - Infrastructure & Innovation

    Rory Doherty (Recipient)

    28 Mar 2019

    Activity: Other activity typesHosting a school group or open day

    External Examiner PhD

    Rory Doherty (Examiner)

    01 Oct 2018

    Activity: Examination typesPhD external examination

    REMEDIATE Conference

    Rory Doherty (Organiser)

    19 Sep 201820 Sep 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Press / Media

    Eco Eye - For Peats Sake - Peatland Research

    Rory Doherty & Laura McAnallen


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Research


    Biogeophysical approaches to monitoring contaminated and restored sites

    Author: Kirmizakis, P., Jul 2020

    Supervisor: Doherty, R. (Supervisor), Allen, C. (Supervisor) & Ofterdinger, U. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy