Newcastle University- PhD, Newcastle University – MSc, Leeds University – BSc, Helsby High School
PhD – Animal Science, MSc – Clean Technology (Environmental Science/Management), BSc – Chemistry
Research Assistant – Newcastle University, Energy Plant (Biomass) Graduate – Egger UK, Laboratory Assistant – Environmental Scientifics Group. Stockroom Assistant – Richer Sounds, Waiter – Forest Hills Hotel
Research Fellow – Trinity College Dublin & Newcastle University
Favourite thing to do in my job:
I speak with inspiring organisations that have a positive impact on our society through food!
A big believer in the power of good food and good people, also a big Liverpool fan, stubborn – I don’t give up easily which is actually useful in research
Recently moved to Dublin with my girlfriend, before that I was living in Newcastle for a long time, live there if you ever get the chance. Have managed to do quite a bit of travelling in the past few years visiting South America twice, including the Galapagos which is the most amazing place I have ever seen on earth. Slightly food obsessed as you can tell from the day job… Thai/Vietnamese food is a weakness and Malaysia is just food heaven! I enjoy most sports and especially enjoy watching people be good at those I am bad at playing (football and basketball). Long time Liverpool fan, get to as many games as I can, had to miss the Champions League final in 2005 to sit an exam, still not clear if it was the right thing to do 13 years later! Big admirer of Lebron but still cant stop myself wanting him to lose! I am getting older, so apparently I now like golf!
Much of my work is about making numbers tell a story. Specifically in relation to how food is produced, distributed, eaten and thrown away. I use relevant data about the food system to model its impacts on the environment and society
I am a full time researcher who has somehow ended up with 2 jobs! In my main job with Trinity College Dublin I try to capture the impact of food sharing on the sustainability of food systems in cities. This is a very broad question which involves thinking about the social consequences of how food is produced and distributed as well as the environmental impacts. There is huge value in sharing a meal or growing food together which can be lost from the lives of many who live in modern cities. One of my main projects at the moment is to design a toolkit to help demonstrate the impacts of initiatives who run community gardens or canteens and those that work to prevent food waste. You can find more out about this project here http://sharecity.ie/. We have a database of these initiatives in cities around the world so you may even find things that are going on near you!
My job Newcastle is more focused on modelling the environmental impacts (carbon footprint, water use etc.) of various livestock farming systems using a technique called life cycle assessment. We try to use this to answer questions on whether genetic changes in animals and using different feeds will reduce the environmental impact of producing the meat we eat. Generally my job is to take data from lots of different academic fields, make it tell a story and try to improve decision making in the real world by creating computer models of complex systems.
My Typical Day:
This really doesn’t exist but I will be talking to people who really care about food
This really doesn’t exist (which is great!). A typical week will involve meeting with the research students that I co-supervise to assist their projects. It may involve having meetings with city based initiatives who work to improve the sustainability of the food system by reducing food waste or running a community garden, sometimes I will interview them to formally record their experiences and the impact they have. If I am lucky I may be travelling to a conference or workshop, to present and discuss my ideas with other researchers. My work covers lots of different academic disciplines so I have lots of these to choose from. In the past I have traveled to places such as Toronto, San Francisco, Sao Paolo and Warsaw for these events.
What I'd do with the prize money:
An event to connect Dublin children with some of the amazing community gardens that exist in the city and how food can be grown in their city
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Cheerful, Grateful & Open-minded
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
What - An early understanding from school/university of how important and widespread the implications of climate change are. Who - my school chemistry teacher & PhD supervisor. Also Inspired by Naomi Klein and Nate Silver
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Honestly I had no idea
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes - I was put on "report" and "monitoring" a couple of times during school, but I always avoided being suspended
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Environmental or Human Rights Lawyer
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Curtis Mayfield, Tupac Shakur, Mackelmore
What's your favourite food?
Vietnamese summer rolls & BBQ
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Snorkeling in the Galapagos
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To always have friends & family, stay healthy and grow a foot taller so I could play in the NBA
Tell us a joke.
Why did the ice cream van break down? Because of the Rocky Road.