By role
By institution
Dr Nessa O’Connor
Francesco Pilla
Léa Braud
Kieran Harrahill
Áine Macken-Walsh
Dr Aideen O’Dochartaigh
Dr Eoin O’Neill
Dr Fionnuala Murphy
Jane Stout
Dr Amanda Sosa
Dr Marina Rubini
Nishtha Talwar
Prof Donna Marshall
Dr Balaji Rokade
Prof Andy Prothero
Andrew Neill
Julia Virgolino
Maneesh Kumar Mediboyina
Prof Nick Holden
Dr Orlagh Reynolds
Dr Rosanna Kleemann
Michelle Savian
Dr Cathal Geoghegan

Nessa is an ecologist and marine biologist who is primarily interested in understanding the dynamics that underpin coastal ecosystems, the effects of multiple stressors, including climate change, and the sustainable management of benthic marine resources (e.g. shellfish, seaweed).

Current projects include:

  • Beyond biofuel: Advanced seaweed cultivation for marine biodiscovery and climate change mitigation (Science Foundation Ireland)
  • Vulnerability of life stages of marine calcifiers to changes in ocean chemistry (Marine Institute)
  • Quantifying the impact of multiple stressors on the production of marine benthic resources; and Blue carbon potential of seagrass communities (Trinity College Dublin)

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.

Léa Braud is a PhD Researcher in the UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering. Passionate about photosynthetic organisms and their potential in the emerging biorefining industry, she recently completed a MSc in Biotechnology at AgroParisTech (France). She developed a strong interest in microalgae and wrote her Master’s thesis at Wageningen University and Research (The Netherlands) in the Bioprocess Engineering Department. She worked on microalgae cultivation for omega-3 fatty acids production in the frame of the European MAGNIFICENT project (H2020 – BBI).

Her current research is part of the European SpiralG project (H2020 – BBI) and focuses on the environmental, social, and economic impact assessment of phycocyanin production from Arthrospira platensis (i.e. Spirulina) in a concept of biorefinery. A key element of her work is to carry out Life Cycle Assessment studies on microalgae cultivation, biomass processing, biomolecules extraction, and co-products valorisation. The SpiralG project allows her to apply her knowledge and experience in microalgal biotechnology and bioprocess engineering, and to develop a strong background in LCA methodologies and their use as a tool to implement sustainable development in the bioeconomy.



MSc Biotechnology, AgroParisTech, France


BSc Life Science Engineering, Agrocampus-Ouest, France

Kieran’s research interests focus on ensuring that a move away from pollutant industries is achieved in a manner which maintains the living standards of those employed in industries which create carbon emissions. The thesis for his MSc in Environmental Policy entailed developing a framework for achieving a ‘just transition’ in coal producing jurisdictions. A core interest in Kieran’s work is ensuring that a connection is made between the merits of environmental policy and the daily lives of citizens. Central to this is Kieran’s use of qualitative research skills such as interviews and focus groups, alongside reviewing grey literature.

At the Centre, Kieran’s research is focused on producer perspectives on the bioeconomy. This research seeks to identify what are the perceptions of producers within the agricultural industry towards the bioeconomy and whether there is the potential for the bioeconomy to reduce producers’ dependence on agricultural activities, which provide them with an income but also contribute significantly to Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas emissions.



MSc Environmental Policy, University College Dublin


BA Geography, Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin

Email Áine Macken-Walsh
Professional PlatformsResearch Gate

Áine Macken-Walsh is a Senior Research Officer at Teagasc’s Rural Economy and Development Programme (REDP). She is a sociologist, using narrative and action research methodologies to explore farmers’ and other actors’ subjective values, knowledges and practices. She works in transdisciplinary contexts, addressing societal challenges relating to diverse issues such as human cooperation, gender, animal health, and the bioeconomy. She uses sociological insights and participatory methods to support multi-actor co-design of policy and extension interventions.

Áine is Adjunct Lecturer at the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI, Galway; a board member of the Social Sciences Research Centre (SSRC) at NUI, Galway; and a member of the Social Sciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA). Within BiOrbic, Áine currently acts as a Funded Investigator on the Sustainability Platform.



PhD Sociology, NUI, Galway


Dip. Community Development Practice, NUI, Galway


MA Human Rights and Democratisation, Padova


BA Sociology & Political Science, NUI, Galway

Dr Aideen O’Dochartaigh is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UCD College of Business and BiOrbic specialising in sustainability accounting and responsible business. She completed her PhD at the School of Management, University of St Andrews in Scotland, followed by an IRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCD.

Prior to her current role she worked with Business in the Community Ireland, playing a key role in the development of their Low Carbon Pledge. She is also working on a project funded by the Chartered Accountants Ireland Educational Trust (CAIET) to explore sustainability accounting at the multiple organisation level through a study of Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme.

Within BiOrbic, Dr O’Dochartaigh is responsible for developing the knowledge hub and business interface for the Irish Bioeconomy. Her areas of research include narratives of sustainability in organisations, sustainability accounting, multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainability and sustainable network development.



PhD, University of St Andrews, Scotland


MBS (Research), University of Limerick


BSc Equine Science, University of Limerick

Email Dr Eoin O’Neill
Professional PlatformsGoogle Scholar

Dr. Eoin O’Neill is Head of School and Associate Professor of Environmental Policy at UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy. He holds BA (Hons) and MRUP degrees, and a PhD in planning and economics.

Eoin is an active researcher and seeks to advance research findings to inform policy. His research interests concern the interactions of people and the environment, under the broad themes of risk (perception and behaviour), and policy design (incentives and regulation of externalities). He is involved in a number of funded research projects across these areas and has published widely in international journals such as Risk Analysis, Journal of the American Planning Association (JAPA Article of the Year 2018), and Urban Studies. Within BiOrbic, Eoin currently acts as a Funded Investigator on the Sustainability Platform.



PhD, University College Dublin


MRUP, University College Dublin


BA (Hons), University College Dublin

Dr Fionnuala Murphy is an Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Biosystems & Food Engineering, and is UCD Programme Director of the MSc Bioeconomy with Business, and Programme Coordinator of the MSc in Sustainable Energy and Green Technologies and ME in Biosystems & Food Engineering.

Dr Murphy’s research focuses on life cycle assessment modelling for the analysis of environmental impacts of a range of production systems, with a special interest in renewable energy systems. Her work aims to understand, quantify and analyse complex environmental exchanges resulting from renewable energy deployment across the full value chain.

Dr Murphy is leading both national and EU research in the development of the sustainable circular bioeconomy, acting as a Principal Investigator on; BBI SpiralG ‘Production of Phycocyanin from the Spirulina Arthrospira Sp.’, BBI AgriChemWhey ‘An integrated biorefinery for the conversion of dairy by-products to high value bio-based chemicals’, and H2020 AgroCycle ‘Sustainable techno-economic solutions for the agricultural value chain’. A key element of Dr Murphy’s work is to carry out industry relevant research, participate in effective and relevant knowledge transfer, and foster links between industry and academia.



PhD, University College Dublin


BE Biosystems Engineering, University College Dublin

Jane’s research expertise is in the field of ecology, with an emphasis on human impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. She seeks to understand the processes and consequences of changes in land management and non-native species invasions, using plant-pollinator interactions as a model system. There is global concern over loss of pollination services and her research informs biodiversity conservation and agriculture, both nationally and internationally.

She employs field-based experimental studies combined with laboratory analyses to characterise insect behaviour, plant breeding systems, biodiversity and conservation of pollinators and their impacts on plant population dynamics. Her research programme is inter-disciplinary: her own expertise covers both botanical and zoological fields, but she also collaborates widely with geographers, socio-economists, chemists and molecular biologists, both nationally and internationally.

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

Marina Rubini graduated at the University of Padova (Italy), before starting her PhD at MPI for Biochemistry under the supervision of Prof. Ned Budisa, where she worked on protein engineering and design with non-natural amino acids. After obtaining her PhD degree in 2004 from the Technical University of Munich, she undertook postdoctoral work in the group of Prof. Arne Skerra (TU Munich) and in the group of Prof. Andreas Marx (University of Konstanz) where she established the expertise of incorporation of non-natural amino acids into proteins in the laboratory of the PIs. In 2012 she became a junior group leader at the University of Konstanz, with focus on modulation of protein folding and stability and creation of homogeneous decorated proteins by “click” chemistry. Since October 2016 she is Assistant Professor (permanent academic staff member) for Chemical Biology at UCD, where she is working on (i) the synthesis and introduction of non-natural amino acids into proteins, in order to gain new insight into protein folding pathways and mechanisms, (ii) semisynthetic approaches to study the effect of post-translational modifications, (iii) enzyme engineering for biocatalysis; and (iv) biosynthetic production of fluorinated antifungal peptides.



PhD, TU Munich, Germany

Email Nishtha Talwar
Professional PlatformsLinkedInORCID

Nishtha joined Biorbic as a PhD student in January 2020. She did her Master’s degree in Food Engineering in UCD which led to her interest in agri-waste management and treatment processes. She has worked on a nationally funded project developing new sustainable biobased value chains in Ireland as a part of her thesis research. She has co-authored a published article in an international peer- reviewed journal. She also assisted with mentoring a group of undergraduate students for biosystem design challenge.

Currently, Nishtha is associated with the sustainability platform and is working on life cycle assessment of the bioeconomy technologies. Her core research revolves around environmental life cycle assessment.



MEngSc Food Engineering, University College Dublin


BTech Food Technology, Lady Irwin College, Delhi University

Professor Donna Marshall researches and teaches in the supply chain management field at University College Dublin. She is a world-class sustainable supply chain scholar, Head (Vice Principal) of Research, Innovation and Impact for the UCD College of Business, President of International Purchasing and Supply Education and Research Association (Apr 2020), and UCD Co-Director of Centre for Business and Society (CeBaS).

Ranked among top 25 and top 6 female supply chain researchers in Europe, publishing in high-impact internationally-reviewed journals, such as Sloan Management Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Production and Operations Management, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Journal of Supply Chain Management and Supply Chain Management International Journal; winning programme funding of €30 million and leading international, interdisciplinary research teams; extensive teaching experience and winning multiple teaching awards; strategic development and implementation at multiple levels in research teams, the College of Business, and the University.

Leadership roles in international high-ranking journals, professional organisations, other Universities and conferences as well as pro bono advising United Nations, companies, NGOs, government and the media on supply chain sustainability and transparency issues.


PhD, University of Bath, UK

Dr Rokade is a trained organic chemist and his research interest involves the development of new organic transformations. During the past 4 years, he has been working in the area of novel ligand design for asymmetric catalysis. His current research involves the application of carbon dioxide in asymmetric catalysis.


MSc, PhD, IRC Postdoctoral fellowship

Andy Prothero is Full Professor of Business and Society, at the Business School in University College Dublin, Ireland. Prior to moving to UCD in 1999 Andy lectured at Universities in Wales and Scotland and she gained her PhD from the University of Cardiff. Andy’s research broadly explores the area of Marketing in Society. Specific research projects have focused on, for example, advertising to children, motherhood and consumption, and sustainable consumption. The area of sustainability marketing has been a key focus of Andy’s work since the early 1990s and she has published widely in this area. Andy was the Guest Editor of a special issue on Green Marketing in the Journal of Marketing Management in 1998, two guest issues of the Journal of Macromarketing in 2014 and 2015 and she also currently serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Macromarketing, and as Associate Editor for the Journal of Marketing Management. Andy teaches at Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Executive levels, and won a School of Business Outstanding Educator award for her postgraduate teaching in 2002, and another School of Business teaching award for both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in 2009. In 2012 Andy received a UCD President’s Award for Teaching and Learning.

Email Andrew Neill
Professional PlatformsLinkedInTwitter

Andrew holds a B.A. in Plant Sciences from Trinity College Dublin and an M.Sc. in Development Practice dual degree from Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. He has previously conducted research projects examining organic farming systems in Rwanda and completed fieldwork exploring climate perceptions and adaptation in Fiji.

More recently he worked with the European Investment Bank regarding natural capital financing in Europe. His PhD project, supervised by Prof. Jane Stout in TCD and Prof. Cathal O’Donoghue in NUIG, is focused on bio-economic activities in Ireland and their implications for Ireland’s natural capital. This research involves a trans-disciplinary approach, bringing together different perspectives and stakeholders regarding bio-economic development. This project contributes to BiOrbic, Ireland’s bioeconomy research centre, and is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Andrew is passionate about environmental sustainability, sustainable development, ecosystem services and effective policy and decision-making.



MSc Development Practice, Trinity College Dublin


BA Plant Science, Trinity College Dublin

Julia Virgolino is a Ph.D. researcher at UCD School of Biosystems Engineering. She completed her Honor Bachelor Degree in Environmental Engineering at the Federal University of Paraiba- Brazil as the top student of the class. Through her undergradute period, she was awarded two times with research grants from the Institutional Scientific Initiation Scholarship Program. Undertaking academic researches in the areas of Hydraulic Sanitation and Solid Waste Engineering. In 2016 she worked as an intern at FUNETEC (Paraíba Foundation for Technological and Cultural Education), developing Municipal Sanitation Plans and environmental classification maps for the Rural Land Registry. Julia also spent 3 semesters of her bachelor’s at The University of Adelaide, in Australia, as part of a scholarship award. Before joining UCD, she was a volunteer at the Institute for Education, Citizenship, and Culture of Sustainability (IECCUS), a non-profit organization focused on environmental education and social technologies. Among your most relevant projects, she worked in the construction of an Educational Reference Centre in Social Technologies applied to Sustainability, located in a Brazillian vulnerable community. She is highly motivated to work with LCA and Social LCA in addition to the holistic understanding of the bioeconomy and its implications for both environment and society.


1st year Doctor of Philosophy in Biosystems & Food Engineering, University College Dublin- UCD, Dublin- Ireland

BSc Environmental Engineering. Awarding Institution: Federal University of Paraíba-UFPB, Paraíba- Brazil

Fellow Researcher in the INSTITUTIONAL PROGRAM OF SCHOLARSHIPS TO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCHERS – PIBIC/CNPq/UFPB, Awarding Institution: LARHENA (Laboratory of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering), Brazil

Feb. 2013- Aug. 2014:
Exchange Program of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Awarding Institution: The University of Adelaide, South Australia- Australia

Fellow Researcher in the INSTITUTIONAL PROGRAM OF SCHOLARSHIPS TO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCHERS – PIBIC/CNPq/UFPB, Awarding Institution: LENHS (Laboratory of Energy Efficiency and Hydraulic Sanitation), Brazil

Maneesh Kumar Mediboyina

Mr. Maneesh Kumar Mediboyina is a Ph.D student at School of Biosystems and Food Engineering at UCD. His research focuses on life cycle sustainability assessment of food systems, with special interest in dairy processing and waste valorisation. His work aims to understand, quantify and assess the potential environmental impacts of multifunctional food systems throughout its life cycle. He is proficient at using environmental assessment software tools like GaBi and OpenLCA for life cycle modelling of products, processes and systems. Currently, he is working on evaluating the life cycle environmental performance of a first-of-a-kind, integrated industrial scale biorefinery for conversion of dairy side streams to high value bio-based chemicals under the EU’s bioeconomy flagship project AgriChemWhey.


Master’s in Food Engineering and Technology, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Punjab, India

Bachelor’s in Food Science and Technology, Acharya N.G Ranga Agricultural University- Bapatla, Guntur, India

Email Prof Nick Holden
Professional PlatformsLinkedInORCID

Professor Holden’s research is on the sustainability of agriculture and food chains, with a focus on: (i) Life Cycle Assessment; (ii) Soil Quality (Sensing and Visual) methods; and (iii) Agricultural Systems Technology. As a member of the Biosystems Engineering discipline since 1998, he teaches life cycle assessment, green technology projects, precision agriculture and research and teaching methods. Nick is head of subject for Agricultural Systems Technology and has recently led the introduction of a new BAgrSc degree in this area. He is also school Head of Teaching and Learning. He supervises graduate and post-doctoral research as part of the activity of his research group.

Nick is a Principal Investigator (PI) in the UCD Earth Institute and UCD Institute of Food and Health, where he is leader of the Food Chain Sustainability theme. He is an SFI-funded PI associated with two major projects, the Innovation Partnership CONSUS, where he leads a work package on nutrient use efficiency as part of the overall aim of developing intelligent support tools for agronomists, and the National Centre, BEACON, where he is Deputy Director and the Platform Leader for the Knowledge Hub. He is also a PI in 3 H2020 projects (AgroChemWhey, AgroCycle and Valumics), being a work package leader for two (AgroChemWhey and AgroCycle).


MEgnSc (by research), University College Dublin

PhD, NUI University College Dublin

MSc Pedoloogy and Soll survey, University of Reading

BSc Geography, Queen Mary, University of London

Dr Reynold’s key research interests include entrepreneurial and innovative action towards sustainability, inclusive development, the circular bioeconomy, and qualitative research methods.

She has experience of teaching and research in the fields of sociology, psychology, strategic management, business ethics, sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Her current research focuses on the dynamics of constructing a Knowledge Hub and Business Interface for the bioeconomy in Ireland. The hub and interface will be a space for the diverse bioeconomy stakeholders to share knowledge, as well as co-create and market innovations. Working with partners across the Centre and in the UCD School of Business, she is developing an evidence base for how best to create a space to facilitate the growth of the bioeconomy.


Structured PhD, Department of Management, School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway.

MSc Forensic Mental Health Psychology, Nottingham Trent University

BSocSc Social Science, University College Cork

Dr Rosanna Kleemann is a postdoctoral research fellow working on the Agri Bio Circular (ABC) Economy project. The ABC Economy project aims to help farmers, food producers, and foresters in Counties Tipperary & Monaghan create value from their waste. Dr Kleemann gained her engineering doctorate in Sustainability for Engineering and Energy Systems from the University of Surrey. Her doctorate, based in Thames Water UK, focused on the sustainable recovery of phosphorus from wastewater. Rosanna has presented her research on various media outlets including BBC News, Sky News, Al Jazeera, and The Independent and Guardian newspapers.

Rosanna has a strong expertise in water and waste treatment and management, sustainable development, and circular bioeconomy. She has a keen interest in conducting industry relevant research, maintaining links between industry and academia, and disseminating research through a variety of methods to reach a broader audience.


Engineering Doctorate in Sustainability for Engineering & Energy Systems, University of Surrey, UK

MSc Sustainable Development, University of Surrey, UK

MSc Water & Environmental Engineering. University of Surrey, UK

BAI Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering. Trinity College Dublin

Michelle is a PhD student at BiOrbic and the School of Biosystems and Food Engineering, UCD. She graduated as a Geologist from the Federal University of Parana (Brazil) in 1996, subsequently working as a Senior and Lead Geologist on major mining, environmental and civil engineering projects all over Brazil for the next 17 years, specialising particularly in site investigation, soil and rock analysis, analytical interpretation of geotechnical data, project management and risk assessment of geological hazards. During this time, she also pursued further studies, including post graduate studies in Environmental Management Systems – PUC (Catholic Pontifical Unversity – Brazil) 2001, and Post Graduate studies in Geotechnics Applied to Mining – Federal University of OuroPreto (Brazil) 2011.  Having moved to Europe, she then completed a UCD Masters in Environmental Technology in 2018. Her PhD research will develop and refine Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment models of bio-based products, which can have real life relevance for agri-business in Ireland.


MSc Environmental Technology, University College Dublin

Post-graduation Geotechnics Applied to Mining, Federal University of Ouro Preto

Post-graduation Environmental Management Systems, Catholic Pontifical University Parana

BSc Geology, Federal University of Parana

Email Dr Cathal Geoghegan
Professional PlatformsORCID

Dr Geoghegan is interested in rural economic development, resource usage, especially regarding land and sustainability. He is especially interested in how concepts such as the circular economy can contribute to increasing economic activity in rural areas in a sustainable manner. Cathal has worked in the areas of choice modelling, microsimulation and policy analysis, and is skilled in the use of econometrics and statistical software.

He is currently developing an analytical framework to undertake an economic-environmental-spatial impact assessment of new bioeconomy sectors. This research presently involves mapping value chains within the Irish dairy sector and exploring value chains for new sectors arising from the dairy processing industry.


PhD in Economics NUI, Galway

Masters in Economic Policy Evaluation and Planning, NUI, Galway

Higher Diploma in Economic Science, NUI, Galway