Bulletin No. 6

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DCU Water Institute is delighted to announce a number of new project awards that have been recently won by our Principal Investigators. The projects featured this month are: BEYOND 2020 with Prof. Fiona Regan, FARM-ECOS with Dr. Blanaid White, and finally, the ALICE RISE H2020 funded project, with Dr. Lorna Fitzsimons. This edition also features the ongoing exciting work of Prof. Christine Loscher, in the area of Marine Mining for Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. It is worth noting that this month’s project snapshot features all women-lead projects – from the Schools of Engineering, Chemical Sciences and Biotechnology, of which we are extremely proud! Well done ladies in STEM!

Burrishoole Ecosystem Observatory Network 2020 (BEYOND 2020)

Prof. Fiona Regan

Burrishoole Ecosystem Observatory Network 2020 (BEYOND 2020) is a multi-institute and multi-disciplinary research cluster which will build on the existing biological and sensor monitoring programme at Marine Institute (MI) Newport by using next generation science and technology to inform on ecosystem response to environmental change, thus enhancing the capacity of the Burrishoole Observatory for the coming decades. This project team will undertake a programme of seven science work packages, including new data analysis on lake physics, aquatic metabolism and modelling (DkIT), developing Burrishoole as a testbed for new sensors (DCU), undertaking in-situ and aerial observations using drone and satellite technology to inform on marine-freshwater links (DCU, DkIT and NUIM), and harnessing ‘omic science to understand and predict the role and response of aquatic ecosystems in a changing global environment (UCC, UCD, QUB and UoG).

Farming and Natural Resources: Measures for Ecological Sustainability (FARM-ECOS)

Dr. Blanaid White

This project will identify the evidence base for novel, cost-effective measures to protect and enhance farmland biodiversity. Identified measures will increase habitat quantity, enhance habitat quality and improve ecological connectivity, from the farm to landscape scale. Measures will thus help halt biodiversity loss and enhance the provision of ecosystem services. DCU is leading task 5, Assessing ecosystem health and delivery of selected ecosystem services of farm habitats, using soil parameters. The objective of this task is to determine how habitat quantity and quality influences soil quality and nutrient composition, and delivery of selected ecosystem services.

Accelerate Innovation in Urban Wastewater Management (ALICE)

Dr. Lorna Fitzsimons

Funded under the H2020 RISE programme, the overall aim of the project is to accelerate innovation in urban wastewater management to address the future challenges arising from climate change. The project objectives are to:

  1. improve the urban resilience of wastewater infrastructures;
  2. investigate the wastewater and energy nexus in wastewater treatment plants to reduce carbon footprint and improve resource efficiency;
  3. enhance the reuse of reclaimed wastewater and resource recovery;
  4. investigate the social behaviour and acceptability issues in the development of innovative management systems for urban wastewater.

The consortium brings together 7 leading academic institutions, 2 water utilities and 3 SMEs with complementary expertise. The project is led by Dr Caterina Brandoni and Prof. Neil Hewitt from the University of Ulster.

Marine Mining In Search of Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Prof. Christine Loscher

This project identifies new marine protein-derived ingredients that can modulate specific immune responses associated with a reduction of either inflammatory or allergic disease. The development of functional “added value” ingredients is a key priority for the expansion of the Irish Agri-food sector. The focus of the project is on functional foods for infants, the elderly and sports participants. The project also demonstrates that marine protein-derived ingredients are a source of possible functional foods, and that Palmaria palmata protein hydrosylates can modulate the immune response.

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