July 30, 2019, by Jo Gregory

There are many shades of green: Why BEACON and Beacon are the perfect partnership for a sustainable future.

In this post, Professor Pete Licence, Deputy Director of the Green Chemicals Beacon, and Director of the GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry and the EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemistry talks to Jo Gregory about his recent trip to BEACON, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centre.

What was the reason for your visit to the BEACON?

The visit in early July was to inaugurate our collaboration which was formed as part of our successful bid for a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Sustainable Chemistry.  Our bid was written in collaboration with BEACON, a multidisciplinary research centre that was founded to add value to the byproducts of agriculture and the marine economy.  Its synergy with our activity in the Green Chemicals Beacon and indeed in the broader application of sustainable chemistry is striking, the opportunities for collaboration and co-supervised research studentships is fantastic. We travelled to Dublin to hold planning discussions to ensure that we can deliver a co-taught educational programme to our new cohort of PhD students, starting in the autumn of 2019.  The discussions were incredibly positive and the energy was high.

Is this a new partnership?

This is a relatively new collaboration, and is supported by 2 large grants (£6.2m from EPSRC to University of Nottingham, and 4.4m Euro from SFI to University College Dublin (UCD) although we have had strong links to the chemistry department at UCD for some time. Professor Fran Paradisi, Green Chemicals Beacon External Advisory Board member was recruited from UCD, and Dr Elaine O’Reilly, also a former Beacon member recently left Nottingham for UCD. Our visit was hosted by Professor Pat Guiry, and we were formally welcomed to UCD by Prof Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact who spoke freely about the importance and university level commitment to the new partnership with Nottingham. In terms of agreements, we will be seeking a formal memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be placed in action, we are already committed via the funding instruments.

How will this link help the Beacon to achieve it’s aims?

The Green Chemicals Beacon and BEACON are natural collaborators with unique areas of strength which are synergistic and add value to one another, we will share training frameworks and offer co-supervised PhD projects across our institutes.  There will be opportunity to support researcher and investigator mobility and kick off new collaborative research. The CDT programme will provide research opportunities and deliver proof of concept studies and data that will underpin high quality research outputs and indeed proposals.  UCD is clearly in the European Union, so we will retain a hard bridge to the EU, and we are already seeking opportunities to broaden our collaboration with EU Horizon 2020 support.  We will run joint seminars and share industry contacts so we can develop truly collaborative opportunities for Innovate/EU support.

The Green Chemicals Beacon and The School of Chemistry are currently recruiting an Assistant/Associate Professor in Catalyst Development. You can find details about the role and apply on the Green Chemicals Beacon website.


Posted in Interviews