Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Academic Biography

I am a geochemist with interdisciplinary research interests in earth resources & pollution, low carbon energy, sustainability, engineering and the environment.  I have particular expertise in the reuse of wastes in the bio-based Circular Economy and the remediation and reuse of contaminated or brownfield land to deliver net zero.  In January 2024 I rejoined Teesside University as a research professor  based at the Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre to develop the areas of nature-based solutions and low carbon materials.

I began my research career at the Open University in Walton Hall (Milton Keynes) in 1985 as an economic geologist studying new occurrences of critical metals including chromium and platinum-group elements.  In my PhD study area on Unst I located the first stratiform platinum-palladium mineralised horizon in any ophiolite worldwide, with my predictions confirmed in three diamond drill cores.

As a senior lecturer in University of Sunderland from 1994 I spent a decade teaching applied, environmental and engineering geology, benefitting from extensive field and industrial visits in North East England, where I became more interested in the environmental impact of mineral extraction than actually finding ore deposits.  This led to a more general interest in contaminated land from 1999.

From 2003 at Teesside University I led a University-based business unit, specialising in sustainable remediation of contaminated land using bioremediation and industrial symbiosis, when I began my research in renewable and low-carbon energy.  I won major project funding from DEFRA, EU and NERC, becoming Reader in Environmental Geochemistry & Sustainability in 2007 and winning a “Best of Life” award for the BioReGen (Biomass, Remediation, re-Generation) Project in 2010. I am particularly proud that as a founding member of the Saltburn Gill Action Group I helped to investigate and scope the Coal Authority’s first UK non-coal minewater treatment scheme, contributing to a private members bill which led to a change in UK law to allow this.

After joining Strathclyde University in 2012 I won the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering’s first KTP for 25 years with Scottish Canals on reusing dredged sediments, while my earlier KTP with Northumbrian Water on reusing water treatment residues started at Teesside University was nominated for KTP of the year.  As CEE’s Director of Knowledge Exchange for 7 years I was the Engineering Faculty’s KTP champion, securing funding for a further KTP for the Department with William Tracey, and then led a further KTP project for Alfred H Knight Energy Services.

I led and delivered CEE’s three group design project modules for 5th year MEng and MSc Civil/Environmental Engineering students CL518, CL519 and CL966, all based on low carbon and renewable energy topics

At Strathclyde I led the Circular Land & Water research group, within the Centre for Water, Sustainability & Public Health, and was a subtheme co-ordinator for Environmental Impact for the University’s “Energy” research theme.  As principle investigator I led 5 work packages and Strathclyde’s contribution to two international research consortium projects which each develop my earlier research themes:  The €8M SURICATES Interreg NWE project (Sediment Uses as Resources in Circular And Territorial EconomieS) addresses the largest non-mining waste stream in the EU with a consortium of 14 European partners.  The €3.5M CERESiS H2020 Project (ContaminatEd land Remediation through Energy crops for Soil improvement to liquid biofuel Strategies) is addressing two key issues:  the legacy of contaminated land and the requirements for high energy density liquid biofuels for transport to meet our Net-Zero targets, through a truly international consortium of 12 partners, from Canada, Brazil, Ukraine and Europe.

I am open to PhD student enquiries in all of the above areas, but especially nature-based solutions and low carbon materials.


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