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The Bryden Centre PhD Programme - Fully Funded PhD Studentships in Renewable Energy

The Bryden Centre PhD studentships have been funded under the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme. The Bryden Centre will create a ‘virtual centre of competence’ that will support industry-led applied/pre-commercial collaborative research on a cross-border, interregional basis that is focused on two specific forms of renewable energy:

  • Marine renewable energy; and
  • Bio-energy

The programme will offer a range of research opportunities in the key theme areas of Biofouling, Biofuels, Renewables and Environment (Resource, Interactions, Impact), Grid Storage and Techno-Economics.

We are seeking to recruit our first cohort of 20 or more students to commence their studies in September 2017; each of whom will work with industry to produce industrially relevant research with the potential for commercial exploitation and resulting economic growth within the INTERREG VA eligible region of Northern Ireland, Border Region of Ireland, and Western Scotland.

For further information on the Bryden Centre PhD opportunities, please click here.

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ReNEW to host workshop and brokerage event

The ReNEW network is putting the final touches to its workshop and brokerage event, to be held in Belgium in May.

The network of organisations is working together to find innovative ways to recover materials with significant market value from waste.

Entitled “ReNEW your approach to resources in the circular economy: Let’s collaborate and innovate!”, the event will be held on 28 May in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels and opened by INTERREG IVB Programme Director, Ruut Louwers.

ReNEW partners will share their experiences of collaboration to enhance innovation in the circular economy, and they’ll be joined by world authorities Karl Vrancken, from EIT KIC Raw MatTERS, and Ken Webster, from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, who will give their views of sustainable materials management and the circular economy. There will also be information on the opportunities for EU funding, including the Fast Track to Innovation pilot scheme.

The network is particularly interested in involving organisations who are planning to co-ordinate funding initiatives aimed at securing EU funding, and commercial enterprises wishing to expand their resource recovery capabilities.

The event is free of charge, but registration is essential. Places are limited so early registration is advised.

For further details and to register online visit

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ReNEW Spring 2015 Newsletter

The spring edition of the ReNEW newsletter is now available.

The edition features details of the network's final meeting, workshop and brokerage event in Brussels in May, along with an update on the various promotional activities undertaken by the ReNEW partners in Northern Ireland as part of the inaugural Northern Ireland Science Festival.

Download the ReNEW spring newsletter here

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ReNEW's latest newsletter now available

The winter edition of the ReNEW newsletter is now available.

The latest edition features a number of articles including the study visit to VITO and :metabolon in October, the success of the ReNEW project as cited by Innovationseeds website, and an update on the latest members meeting held in Essen in November.

Download the ReNEW December 2014 newsletter here

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QUESTOR leads European project on cleaning up contaminated land

A new €3.7 million research project at Queen’s University Belfast is aiming to use sustainable methods to clean up contaminated land.

Known as REMEDIATE, the QUESTOR Centre at Queen’s is leading the project and is working with researchers across Europe in collaboration with industrial partners, including Shell Global Solutions.

Years of industrialisation or poor management practices has resulted in thousands of contaminated land sites across Europe, posing serious environmental, economic and health risks.

The four-year European initiative will bring together scientists and engineers who will develop technologies to help accelerate the remediation of contaminated sites, releasing land for industrial or domestic development.

The QUESTOR Centre has been awarded €3.7 million to lead the four year project, which will support 14 researchers in UK, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy, working with 14 industrial partners.

Professor Mike Larkin, from Biological Sciences at Queen’s, is leading the project: “There are an estimated 3.5 million potentially contaminated sites in the whole of the EU, of which about half a million are expected to be actually contaminated and in need of remediation.

“Until these are identified and assessed, they will continue to pose potentially serious environmental, economic, social and health risks.

“This is a multidisciplinary collaboration committed to the provision of innovative research and training for more cost effective and sustainable remediation of contaminated land.

“It would not have been possible for Queen’s University to lead such a project without the expertise and co-ordination of staff in the QUESTOR Centre. It demonstrates the capacity that Queen’s has to lead in important international collaborations,” he said.

“Established 25 years ago QUESTOR is an industry-collaborative centre for world-leading environmental research. It is the only Centre outside the United States to be part of the NSF IUCRC (Industry-University Co-operative Research Centre) programme. It has an international standing as a Centre of Excellence for Environmental Research and makes significant contributions to the regional and national economies."

In addition to coordination of the project, scientists at Queen’s will be focussed on novel methods of engineering biological clean-up process in collaboration between Biological Sciences and Civil Engineering.

Note to Editors:

REMEDIATE is a new EU funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN), managed by the QUESTOR Centre at Queen’s University. It will run for four years, starting in January 2015.

For more information contact:

Professor Mike Larkin
Chair of Microbial Biochemistry and Chair of QUESTOR Centre Research Committee
School of Biological Sciences
Queen’s University Belfast
Medical Biology Centre
Tel: +44 (0) 28 9097 2288

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Biosettler R&D Grant

The QUESTOR Centre has partnered with local companies Enisca and Colloide Engineering Systems to continue the development of the BioSettler. The partnership has successfully obtained a grant from Invest NI’s Grant for R&D scheme, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

The BioSettler, which began life as a QUESTOR funded PhD project, is a low cost low energy retrofit for existing secondary settling tanks at wastewater treatment plants, allowing pollutant removal performance to be boosted without the need for additional treatment tanks. The R&D Grant will fund the building and operation of a full-scale working prototype, which will generate the data needed to qualify and quantify the benefits of the BioSettler system. 

ReNEW Industrial Support Vouchers

Do you have an idea about the waste sector, but need technical advice or access to specialist testing facilties to move a step closer to the marketplace?

Are you keen to innovate your existing business? 

Apply for a ReNEW transnational voucher for financial support and help from some of the most renowned laboratories and researchers in Europe.

For more information, read our flyer or visit the ReNEW website.

Completion of ATWARM

ATWARM, the highly successful Marie Curie ITN co-ordinated and managed by QUESTOR, ended on 30th November 2013. A summary of the project’s achievements are available here. Visit the ATWARM website,, for  more information.

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IWA Activated Sludge Conference Announcement

From Dr Michael Eisinger Managing Director of the Centre for Water and Environmental Research (CWE) at QUESTOR Partner institution University of Duisburg-Essen:

"On behalf of the International Water Association (IWA) and the programme and organising committees, it is our pleasure to invite you to join us for the IWA Specialised Conference.


This conference will bring together the experience and expertise of 100 years of scientific research and practical operation of activated sludge plants that form the basis of the modern understanding of the process. The conference will be a forward-looking event that showcases the latest developments and applications of the technology.

For more information see

The programme of oral presentations was developed in close co-operation of the IWA Specialist Groups on “Design, Operation and Costs of Large Wastewater Treatment Plants”, “Nutrient Removal and Recovery” and “Microbial Ecology and Water Engineering” with support from the Specialist Groups on “Sludge Management” and “Membrane Technology”.

In addition to the invited oral presentations a call for posters has been announced, see website.

The conference venue will be the Unesco World Heritage site "Zeche Zollverein" in Essen. Essen was also the location of the first activated sludge plant on the European continent.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you in Essen.

In the name of the organising committee."

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First QUESTOR/CASE Joint Meeting

The first ever joint meeting of the QUESTOR Centre and CASE (the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy) was held at the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute in Hillsborough, Northern Ireland on the 12th and 13th November 2013.

The meeting was attended by over 80 delegates from industry, academia and government agencies and included workshops to agree the future research strategies for both Centres.

Delegates also received presentations on ongoing projects and new initiatives within both Centres and the Industrial Members of QUESTOR and CASE participated in the selection of new projects.

The next meeting will take place at Queen’s University Belfast on the 13th and 14th May 2014 and will mark the 25th Anniversary of the QUESTOR Centre.

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Call for ReNEW Industrial Support Vouchers now open

The ReNEW project invites companies to apply for vouchers to cover 50% of R&D needs up to a maximum €10,000 (£8,000) total project value.

Visit for more information.

ReNEW also aims to consult with stakeholders on the Research and Development infrastructure within Europe to determine if it fits the needs of the existing waste industry and the emerging resource/circular economy. Please take a little time to provide input to the debate and develop national and EU policy to industries needs by completing a simple questionnaire, accessed here.

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Four new members join QUESTOR

Four New member companies / organisations have joined QUESTOR over the summer period:

Enrich Environmental Ltd (SME member)

Complete Laboratory Solutions (SME member)

DMT Milieutechnologie BV (observer member)

SmartBay Ireland Ltd (observer member)

Enrich Environmental Ltd based in Kilcock, Co. Meath, Ireland was established in 2004 to manufacture compost, bark, green roof growing media and specialised soil mixes. Enrich Environmental supplies products to landscape contractors, race courses, topsoil blenders and the general public.  In the process of developing its horticultural products, the company has built up a reputation for its knowledge of soil and soil performance and built up a team of leading experts in Composting Techniques, Soil Science, Laboratory Methodologies, Hydrology and Drainage. In addition to manufacture and supply of horticultural products the company now offers a comprehensive soil advisory service.

Complete Laboratory Solutions (CLS) based in Ros Muc, Co. Galway, Ireland is a contract laboratory providing expertise in sampling/analysis to the food, environmental, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. CLS has extensive knowledge and expertise in sampling from surface water, ground water and drinking water sources.  

DMT Milieutechnologie BV based in Joure, Friesland, Netherlands is an international fast growing, flexible and dynamic organisation.  They deliver state-of-the-art turn key projects for environmental uses. Through their research and development they develop technologies for air, gas and water treatment. Especially interesting is the development of techniques for producing sustainable energy and upgrading biogas, which directly contribute to the protection of the environment and the climate. Other DMT Environmental Technology activities are research, consultancy and design, hire (test) installations, engineering and project delivery, service and maintenance.

SmartBay Ireland Ltd based in Galway, Ireland are responsible for the operation of Ireland’s marine test and demonstration facilities.  SmartBay Ireland support the testing and validation of novel sensors and equipment for the research and SME’s. It provides access to researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs, who use both its physical and cyber environment to develop, test, demonstrate and validate new solutions for marine and related sectors. SmartBay Ireland will also manage the National ¼ Scale Ocean Energy test site for wave energy converters (WEC’s) which will allow WEC device developer’s test and validate ¼ scale device prototypes within GalwayBay, allowing for significant cost saving over full-scale models.

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New Website Launched for the Biogas Action Plan for Northern Ireland, Do-Bioenergy.

The website for Do-Bioenergy can be found at

At the website you will find all the information, news and events related to the project.

The project aim is to develop Opportunities in Bioenergy. It intends to create a Biogas network in Northern Ireland looking towards Horizon 2020 with focus on biogas-related technology and provision in relation to electricity, heat and transport culminating in a local action plan. This project is funded by Invest NI.

The website includes a directory. The aim of the directory is to provide information to all actors in the biogas sector in Northern Ireland  that wish to:

 -          look or offer project cooperation;

 -          offer technologies;

 -          promote opportunities or;

 -          develop partnerships.


Register your profile online and help us to populate the directory.

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Prize for Female Innovators 2014

The competition for the EU Prize for Female Innovators 2014 is open until 15th October 2013.

After a successful first edition in 2011, the European Commission has launched the second edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators to reward three women who have developed outstanding innovations and brought them to market.

The contest is open until 15 October 2013, 5:00 pm (Brussels time) to all women who have founded or co-founded their own company and who have at some point in their career benefited from the EU's research framework programmes or the Competitiveness and Innovation framework programme.

The first prize is EUR 100,000, second prize EUR 50,000 and the third prize EUR 25,000.

With this Prize, the European Commission aims to raise awareness about the contribution, potential and importance of Women researchers to entrepreneurship and to encourage women to exploit the commercial and business opportunities offered by their research projects and become entrepreneurs.

Compete and tell your story now to inspire other women to follow in your footsteps!

Applications can be submitted via the competition website until 15 October 2013 (5 p.m. Brussels time):

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Woody Biomass “Field to Furnace” Open Day

Tuesday 17th September 2013: 11.00 – 18.00

Environment and Renewable Energy Centre, AFBI Hillsborough,


Topics covered will include:

                  Biomass Production


                  Post Production & Processing

                  Biomass Utilisation

                  GHG Savings & Carbon footprint

                  Marketing (and RHI)

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ATBEST project now recruiting researchers

The QUESTOR-led project ATBEST - Advanced Technologies for Biogas Efficiency Sustainability and Transport - has begun the process of recruiting 12 PhD students and 2 Post-Doctoral Researchers. The project, a Marie-Curie Initial Training Network funded though EU Framework Programme 7, will develop innovative research and training for the biogas industry in Europe and aim to establish long-term collaborations and develop structured research and training relevant to industry and academia along the biogas supply chain: biogas production from feedstock to its utilisation as an energy source.

The project partnership comprises eight training sites located in the UK (Queen's University Belfast), Ireland (University College Cork, Teagasc & Bord Gáis), Germany (University of Duisburg Essen & Cologne University of Applied Sciences) and Sweden (Linköping University & Scandinavian Biogas Fuels). It is a multidisciplinary collaboration between internationally-renowned research teams and industrial partners, each with complementary expertise in a wide range of environmental technologies.

For more details on the project, and information on how to apply for these positions, please visit

This project is the second Marie Curie ITN that has been led by QUESTOR, following on from the very successful ATWARM which is scheduled to finish later this year. These projects, along with ReNEW - which is funded by the Interreg North West Europe programme and also coordinated by QUESTOR - have seen a total of £9.5M secured in European funds by QUESTOR for its partners in the last 5 years.

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28 June final deadline for NI entries to €280,000 Business Competition

The countdown is on: Conor Sweeney, Project Manager for InterTradeIreland and last year’s winner, Dr Andrew Woods, CEO of Queen’s Spin-out Catagen,  are urging  new and early stage businesses across Northern Ireland to submit their entries to the Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition before the deadline on 28 June 2013. Due to the new and simplified entry process this year, the first stage requires companies to complete a short online application form and then upload a visual representation of their business. The competition has a prize fund of €280,000 and aims to help firms become investor-ready.  For more information or to enter, visit

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CASE an opportunity for local entrepeneurs

A recent Department of Education and Learning (DEL) report indicated that Northern Ireland is out performing the rest of the UK in exploiting links between universities and industry. Yet there is still very compelling evidence of a gap between University Research and genuine exploitation of those research outputs by local companies in the form of patents and spin outs. The Invest NI Competence Centre programme has been established to address the challenges of industry / university interfaces in the research arena over a number of specific sectors identified by MATRIX (government science advisory panel) as forerunners in the drive for innovation.

The Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) has been set up under the Invest NI competence centre programme with an industry driven research agenda across four main themes : turbines, grid integration and storage, energy efficiency and energy from biomass. With 40% renewable energy targets in Northern Ireland by 2020 equating to the connection of around 1440MW of distributed renewable energy technology to a constrained grid, significant opportunities abound for Northern Ireland's entrepreneurs. CASE has just launched the first call for collaborative projects in sustainable energy and will draw upon a £5m research fund from Invest NI, as well as other leveraged funding through Europe. 

The late 2012 announcement of the Crown Estates leases for 200MW of tidal energy has led to the first CASE research project, led by local industry, funded by INI and conducted by QUB. Testing of 1/10th scale tidal devices will soon commence in Strangford Lough. This world leading project and the subsequent building-out of the full scale tidal energy sites on the North Coast will open up significant avenues for a potential new marine energy supply chain. NI companies are ideally placed to exploit these opportunities now!

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ReNEW Project seeks Special Advisor for WRAP (Waste Resources Action Programme)in Northern Ireland

Special Advisor – Policy: ReNEW Project

Salary: c.£43,500 (fixed term until end of June 2015)

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland

ReNEW (Resource Innovation Network for European Waste) is an exciting EU-Funded (INTERREG IVB) project involving ten partners from across NW Europe.  The project aims to build a trans-national, cross-sector innovation network to transform the waste sector of North West Europe through innovation in the recovery of valuable resources.  It will stimulate the collaboration of researchers and SMEs, together with public bodies, in North West Europe working to develop resource recovery processes that can meet future market needs, conserve resources and strengthen the economic competitiveness of NW Europe.  WRAP is recruiting a Special Advisor to the ReNEW project in the area of policy development and policy communication, supporting the Northern Ireland government and other project partners and stakeholders.  Overall project management is by QUESTOR Centre, an industry-led environmental cluster based in Queen’s University Belfast.  This post is funded by the Northern Ireland Department of Environment and INTERREG until June 2015.

The post is available as a full-time, fixed-term position or as a secondment opportunity and will be based in Belfast, with occasional travel to Europe to meet with project partners and EU Commission staff.  The post will require regular interaction with European partners and stakeholders, including industry, small companies and entrepreneurs.  The Department wishes to facilitate its own and its partners’ policy development in resource efficiency and the circular economy and the development of its policy framework to maximise the potential for the project to support future economic growth in Northern Ireland.

The Special Advisor will be able to demonstrate:

  • a relevant science/technical degree with experience in a technical field, such as chemistry, engineering or biotechnology
  • experience in the area of policy development, either for government or industry.
  • knowledge of municipal or industrial waste management and/or the chemical and biotechnology industry sector (desirable).

Policy advice and development is the key output for this post and experience and judgement in determining the best outcome from the research findings is essential to the success of the project.  This is particularly relevant in enabling the development of commercial technologies that can recover valuable materials from wastes that can enter supply markets for new manufacture and generate economic opportunities in NW Europe.

We offer a contributory pension scheme, free life assurance, 25 days holiday and a discretionary performance related payment.

For further details and to apply, please download and complete an application form (electronic applications preferred) via our website and send it to   No agencies or CVs thank you. 

WRAP welcomes applications from all suitably qualified applicants, regardless of religion, age, gender, disability or race.

Closing date for applications:  12:00 midday Monday 3rd June.  Interviews: June 2013. 

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Dublin City University played host to the ATWARM Conference and May 2013 Questor Meeting

140 delegrates from industry and research institutions contributed to a lively debate at the QUESTOR meeting and ATWARM international conference, ‘Water: the greatest global challenge’ (14-16th May 2013) which was held in the Helix at DCU last week. This also incorporated the most recent QUESTOR meeting and the Industrial Advisory Board met on Wednesday just before an international brokerage meeting run by the Europe Enterprise Network.

The event was a great success – all thanks to the speakers and delegates who made it an event well worth attending. Interesting talks highlighted water challenges and opportunities in Ireland, Europe, Africa, China and Brazil. Technical talks across the 3 day conference presented research outputs and innovations for nutrient removal & recovery, removal of metals, remediation of contaminated groundwater & surface water, water monitoring and the water-energy nexus.

A particular highlight of the event was the address by Alex Attwood MLA – who endorsed the work of QUESTOR and the research being undertaken by the ATWARM consortium.

Conference presentations from the keynote industrial and academic speakers, as well as all research presentations are available at

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Case Study: QUESTOR and TE Laboratories

The ATWARM project (coordinated by QUESTOR) features in an Intertrade Ireland case study, which discusses the benefits of North-South collaboration in European research. Link here: The video was shown last week (16th May) at the Collaborate to Innovate event at Croke Park on 16th May, which coincided with QUESTOR's own international meeting in Dublin.

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ReNEW project website launched

The ReNEW project website has been launched and can be found at

Resource innovation Network for European Waste  represents a network of organisations whose aim is to deliver innovations for the waste supply chain - promoting recovery of valuable materials from waste a €4.88 million project, funded at a rate of 50% (€2.44 million) by the Interreg IVB North West Europe scheme.


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Minister for the Environment Addresses 'Water: the greatest global challenge'

Alex Attwood MLA, Minister for the Environment Northern Ireland, addressed delegates of 'Water: the greatest global challenge' on Wednesday 15th May 2013.

"This event demonstrates where we need to go in cross boundary research particularly on the critical issues facing our nations including water quality and management. Within Europe and the Island we need to cooperate and integrate our efforts on economic, environment and  social issues. That need is acute in Ireland. That is why I acknowledge the great work of Questor out of Belfast working with its Irish and European partners to develop research on water management and technologies. This is where we need to go-all island, all islands all Europe cooperation.  This research programme is funded through FP7. This makes the widerpoint. Dublin is miles ahead of Belfast on accessing European funds generally and FP7 in particular. As we approach 2014 and the start of Horizon 2020 the successor programme to FP7, we in Belfast must stretch our ambitions in the image of what has been achieved in Dublin."

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Prof Michael Bongards, Cologne University of Applied Sciences Dr Elaine Groom, QUESTOR QUB + ReNEW coordinator

Delegates at the ReNEW workshops in :metabolon

ReNEW Technology Foresight Workshop update

TheReNEW Technology Foresight workshop was hosted by Cologne University of Applied Sciences on 23-24th April 2013. The event was a great success, featuring presentations of processes for recovering organic materials from the waste stream (Dr Ludo Diels, VITON.V., Juan Carlos Cabrera Pino, Materia Nova); and discussions of process needs for recovery of inorganics (metals, minerals) from waste (Frans Beckers,Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency and Patrick Van den Bossche, Agoria Belgium Industrial Federation).

ReNEW technical experts provided insight to the technologies they aim to demonstrate during the project. Stakeholders will be invited to visit these demonstration facilities over the coming months.

Delegates also had the opportunity to discuss innovation needs, gaps and facilities – innovation challenges facing the waste supply chain.

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Show how research benefits business via is a pilot site where case studies describing how real-world problems have been solved through research. Visit for more details.

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Contact Information

The Questor Centre
David Keir Building
Stranmillis Road
Belfast BT9 5AG

Tel +4428 9097 5577
Fax +4428 9066 1462


For google map link click here

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