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Francesco Pilla
Dr Amanda Sosa
Tanja Narancic
James Gaffey
Dr Eoin Syron

Francesco’s work lies at the intersection between cities and technologies. His goal is to build better cities through technology, innovation and citizen participation. His area of expertise is smart cities and in specific geospatial analysis and modelling of urban dynamics, which involves the development of GIS based models and decision support tools, in order to pre-empt the impacts resulting from the interactions between human population and the environment. He uses a range of pervasive and community sensing applications as a means of calibration and validation of these GIS tools. He then integrates the GIS models and data streams from pervasive sensing deployments with advanced machine learning algorithms to gain a better understanding of the spatial dynamics in cities.

He is currently exploring the use of these GIS based tools as a way to integrate co-design in urban planning and pervasive sensing (static and mobile as part of citizen science initiatives). This is achieved as part of Living Lab activities which focus on improving city life from environmental and resilience to extreme weather events perspectives. It will be explored further during the course of his work as part of his H2020 projects: iSCAPE (Coordinator and Principal Investigator) focusing on smart control of air pollution and OPERANDUM (Principal Investigator for UCD) focusing on reducing flood risk with nature-based solutions, both of which are piloted in Dublin. He is also empowering local communities by providing them with the tools (low cost sensors for air quality and traffic counts) and skills to achieve a more sustainable and healthier local environment as part of the H2020 WeCount (Principal Investigator for UCD).

Separate to this, he is also exploring the use of geospatial big data and sentiment rich social media data to inform the quantity and quality of nature based solutions in cities as part of another H2020 project called Connecting Nature (Principal Investigator for UCD). Finally, he is developing Scalable, Privacy-Enhanced Analytics for sharing mobility systems as part of a SFI Investigator grant of which he is the Principal Investigator for UCD. He has been active in GIS modelling and spatial data analysis for 15 years and has acquired considerable experience in networks of sensors for urban monitoring and data mining during his collaborations with IBM as part an IBM Faculty Award (2017) and two different research laboratories in MIT as part of a Fulbright/EPA TechImpact Award (2015) and his PhD (2011) research work.

Dr Amanda Sosa is a post-doctoral researcher at UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering. Her research focuses on biomass supply chain planning with a special interest in transportation.

She is a Forestry Engineer specialising on wood chemistry and wood technology. She completed an MSc in World Heritage Management in UCD and carried out research on land cover/use changes using remote sensing and GIS.

In 2015, Amanda obtained a PhD in Biosystems Engineering from UCD. Her doctoral research on optimal allocation and transportation of forest biomass in Ireland involved understanding supply chains, and developing tools based on GIS and Operational Research methods. In 2018, she joined Waterford Institute of Technology on an Interreg funded project aimed at improving the competitiveness of forest harvesting companies in Finland, Sweden, Scotland and Ireland. This included characterising business model and profitability of harvesting companies and evaluating the efficiency of harvesting operations. She has conducted other studies combining Optimisation and Life Cycle Assessment.

In 2019, Dr Sosa was awarded the Starting Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) by SFI. Her work aims to understand how environmentally sustainable current and emerging agri-waste pathways are, and how to optimise the supply and use of this bioresource.



Doctorate in Biosystems Engineering, University College Dublin (UCD)


MSc World Heritage Management, University College Dublin (UCD)


Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry Engineering. Universidad de Los Andes (ULA), Mérida-Venezuela

Tanja is an Assistant Professor at the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science.  Her research focuses on elucidating the metabolism of bacteria, and using this knowledge and synthetic biology tools to exploit these bacteria to make high value products.

She graduated with a PhD in 2012 from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. This was followed by postdoctoral research at the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, Belgrade, Serbia, where she developed a biocatalyst based on recombinant whole cells for Michael-type formation of C-C bonds and synthesis of pharmaceutically relevant compounds.

In 2013, she moved to University College Dublin where she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow under the direction of Prof Kevin O’Connor. She investigated metabolic pathways of microorganisms using proteomics, metabolomics, enzymatic assays and synthetic biology tools as a part of FP7 and H2020 projects. In 2019, she joined Bioeconomy Research Centre BiOrbic as a Research Fellow, where I coordinated several research projects among BiOrbic PIs, PostDocs, PhD students, as well as designing projects proposed by industrial partners.



PhD, University of Belgrade, Serbia


BSc, University of Belgrade, Serbia

James Gaffey is Co-Director of the Circular Bioeconomy Research Group (CIRCBIO) at Institute of Technology Tralee. James is Principal Investigator on the ICT-BIOCHAIN and BIOSWITCH projects, both funded through the Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU). He is currently coordinator of the EIP-Agri Biorefinery Glas, small-scale grass biorefinery demonstration project and part of the BIORBIC-led SFI Zero Farm C team. James is also a member of the core programme development team and lecturer on the Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business co-developed by IT Tralee, UCD and Teagasc. He has been a regular contributor to European-level studies into circular bioeconomy and is currently a member of the Expert Panel for the Impact Assessment of the European Partnership for a Circular Biobased Europe under the future Horizon Europe programme. James joined IT Tralee in 2016, working as biorefinery specialist on the EU Horizon 2020 AgriForValor Project. Prior to this, James worked in the biorefinery industry since 2009 with Sustainable Biopolymers, Cellulac Ltd and the Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy (NUI Galway) and through projects including Bio-Eire, Future European League for Microalgal Energy (FUEL4ME) and Sustainable Polymers from Algae Sugars and Hydrocarbons (SPLASH).



MSc Environmental Technologies, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology


BSc Environmental Science, NUI Galway

Email Dr Eoin Syron
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Dr Syron has worked in the environmental engineering sector for over 15 years in both Academia and Industry. He has successfully scaled up and commercialised the Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor for the treatment of wastewater. His research examines the use of green molecules to assist the decarbonisation of the energy system, with a special focus on gaseous molecules such as Hydrogen. Dr Syron’s current research projects include

  • Examining the role of gas networks in the transition to a zero carbon future
  • Upcycling/Recovering value from single use equipment
  • Bioremediation of contaminated soils