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Personal Statement

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.

I began my research career 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 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 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 in 2012 I won CEE’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 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.

I now lead 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 lead the Circular Land & Water research group, within the Centre for Water, Sustainability & Public Health, and am subtheme co-ordinator for Environmental Impact for the University’s “Energy” research theme.

I lead and deliver CEE’s three group design project modules for 5th year MEng and MSc Civil/Environmental Engineering students CL518, CL519 and CL966.

I am open to PhD student enquiries in all of the above areas.

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 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 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


  • Biomass
  • Contaminated Land
  • sediments
  • platinum-group elements
  • Waste
  • Soil and Groundwater Remediation


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