Clodagh Gillen

Clodagh Gillen


Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am a PhD researcher and hydrogeologist with five years of various experience. I am a chartered geologist with the IGI (Institute of Geologists of Ireland) and the EFG (European Federation of Geologists).

I completed my BSc in Earth and Ocean Sciences in the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2016 and started my career working as a researcher for the Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland). I then worked for Geological Survey Ireland on the national Tellus project as a sampler (soils, water, sediment, minerals) and was later promoted to lab manager. Following this I completed an MSc in Hydrogeology in the University of Strathclyde in 2018 which involved working with the NGO BASEflow in Malawi for several months. I then took a job with SLR Consulting Ltd as a hydrogeologist (project level then senior) based in Dublin and later, Glasgow.

I am also a member of the charity Groundwater Relief and have volunteered as a hydrogeologist on several projects. One project involved spending several months in Bangladesh working with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and BRAC’s (Bangladeshi NGO) Water and Sanitation teams in the World’s largest refugee camp.

Currently I am undertaking a PhD looking at how climate change could affect mine water geothermal prospects, primarily fluctuations in precipitation and atmospheric temperature.

I was on the committee of the Irish Association of Women in Geoscience 2019-2023. I am now, since 2023, on the committees of the Geothermal Association of Ireland and the Irish Association of Hydrogeologists.

Research Interests

Greenhouse gases continue to be emitted at unprecedented rates; in 2019 global greenhouse gas emissions were  54% higher relative to the 1990 emissions (IPCC, 2022). Scotland has committed to Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2045 (HM Government, 2021). In Scotland, heat accounts for half of all energy greenhouse gas emissions (Matthews and Scherr, 2020) and decarbonising this remains challenging. Disused flooded coal mines are a potentially valuable untapped low carbon geothermal heat source. However, geothermal heat must be resilient to the effects of climate change, which include the cascade of projected impacts on water resources. To date, no such research has been conducted globally.

Changes in temperature and the magnitude, frequency, and seasonality of rainfall could impact mine water (negatively or positively). This concept will be examined through methods including analysis of aquifer parameters, groundwater recharge, water chemistry and gases. Groundwater recharge will be examined using isotopes, tracers, water levels, and precipitation; this will allow the determination of recharge rates, recharge periods, groundwater residence time, and therefore inform groundwater sensitivity to changes in rainfall and recharge regimes. Water chemistry such as pH and TDS is affected by carbon dioxide and temperature. Patterns over previous years can indicate how water chemistry may be impacted by climate change. 

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 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University Of Strathclyde


Master in Science, Hydrogeology, University Of Strathclyde


Bachelor of Science, Earth and Ocean Science, NUI Galway



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