University receives £1million to fund green research

The University of Aberdeen has been awarded over £1million in funding to establish a centre that will train a new generation of researchers to develop technologies that convert organic waste into sustainable materials.

The University is one of only ten universities across the UK to receive a prestigious Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Award, which will fund 15 doctoral scholarships across three cohorts. 

The multi-disciplinary Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) will equip a new generation of researchers with the skills and knowledge to deliver the sustainable production of chemicals and materials from organic waste.  It will also evaluate the environmental and economic impacts of developing such technologies.

Their research will focus on the conversion of unavoidable organic waste into essential chemicals and materials (e.g. fuels, fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, construction materials) via anaerobic digestion followed by separation and chemical conversion of the products.

Professor Judith Masthoff, Dean of the Postgraduate Research School at the University of Aberdeen, led the successful funding bid.  She said: “This is a fabulous achievement for the University and builds on our reputation for outstanding postgraduate research training. The CDT will be supported by our newly established Postgraduate Research School.”

Dr Davide Dionisi, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering, is a leading researcher in this area and who proposed the subject area will take a close involvement in the delivery of the CDT.  He said: “The sustainable production of chemicals and materials from organic waste is a growing area of research, as we aim to find ways of limiting our reliance on fossil fuels.

“Our aim is to train a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers who will have the skills and knowledge to deliver our vision of producing chemicals and materials from waste using renewable energy, as well as to assess its environmental impact and provide the economic and political arguments to encourage its uptake.”

Professor Marion Campbell, Vice-Principal for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University, added: “The University recognises that some of the world’s greatest challenges need to be addressed by interdisciplinary teams, and it is testament to our strength in this area that we have been selected for this prestigious award.

“We are grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for the award which provides us with an exciting opportunity to equip the next generation of research leaders with the skills and expertise to address this challenging global issue.”