Research Vacancies 

Postgraduate Scholarship

Project Title: Ensuring food safety in grass systems using NBPT treated urea

Description: Agricultural ammonia emissions, including from urea fertiliser, account for 99% of national ammonia emissions. Ireland has committed to reduce GHG emissions by 30% and ammonia emissions by 5%. Food Wise 2025 and Origin Green aim to sustainably increase agricultural production. The use of inhibitors such as urease inhibitors e.g. N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT) have been shown to reduce emissions from fertiliser use by up to 80% in Irish conditions. However, there are concerns regarding potential inhibitor residues in milk and milk products.This PhD project will quantify the human health risk associated with NBPT inhibitor residues with a specific focus on developing a comprehensive risk assessment of inhibitor residues in the milk processing chain.

The project is conducted in conjunction with Teagasc (Crops, Land Use & Environment Programme, Johnstown Castle; Food Research Centre, Moorepark; and Food Research Centre, Ashtown) and is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine (DAFM).

Applicants for this PhD scholarship should ideally have:

  • A good honours degree in either: Chemistry, Science, Environmental Science, Agricultural Science, Food Engineering, Biosystems Engineering or equivalent.
  • Solid foundation and technical knowledge of food and environmental processes.
  • A good knowledge of computers (Excel, Word, PowerPoint). Knowledge of simulation modelling, risk/exposure assessment would be an advantage.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills (including presentation and writing skills).
  • Be enthusiastic and willing to learn new concepts and ideas.

PhD Duration: up to 4 years

The successful candidate will be registered for a PhD degree by research at UCD. A competitive scholarship (covering student stipend and fees) for the duration of the project (4 years) is offered to the successful applicant. Interested applicants should email a complete CV and letter of application to:

Closing date: 24th August 2018

Applications before 24 August 2018, early application advised

Postgraduate Scholarship pdf|90.1Kb


PhD Studentship in Life Cycle Assessment

Project Title: SpiralG - Production of Phycocyanin from the Spirulina Arthrospira Sp. Revisiting the Sourcing, Extraction and Co-Valorization of the Whole Algae in the Frame of an Industrial Biorefinery Concept

Description: Production of sufficient quantities of sustainably produced biomass as feedstock for the growing bioeconomy represents a key challenge for the biobased industry. SpiralG will build a first-of-a-kind, algae-based demonstration plant with a progressive production capacity of 10MT of phycocyanin per year. SpiralG will develop a blueprint for the sourcing, extraction and co-valorization of the whole algae in the frame of an industrial biorefinery concept.

This PhD project will focus on developing a consequential life cycle assessment model for the biorefinery products and their value chains, while enabling LCA to be used at design, implementation and testing phases of the overall project. There will be a specific focus on interacting with industry partners during all of these stages of the project to best understand the value chain and for on-site data collection.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • An excellent degree in a quantitative science-based discipline such as biosystems and food engineering, marine science, environmental science, industrial ecology or similar.
  • Some knowledge or experience of the algae industry and life cycle assessment would be helpful.
  • Excellent scientific, organisational and project management skills;
  • A commitment to research;
  • Excellent problem-solving skills;
  • The ability to work independently and as part of a multi-disciplinary team; and
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Stipend: €18,500 per annum (+ contribution of fees up to €6,945 per annum)

PhD Duration: up to 4 years

Informal requests for further details can be made to Dr Fionnuala Murphy and Professor Kevin McDonnell (

Closing date: 25th July 2018

Expected start date: September 2018

To apply please send your CV and cover letter detailing motivation and career plan applications by email to for the attention of Dr Fionnuala Murphy and Prof Kevin McDonnell by no later than 25th July 2018

This PhD is funded by project H2020-BBI-JTI-2017-792257

PhD Studentship in Life Cycle Assessment pdf|66.8Kb