I graduated in July 2015 with a MEng in Chemical Engineering with Honours in Sustainable Engineering at Newcastle University. Shortly after I began to work as a process engineer for Procter and Gamble, within a year of this position I decided the fast moving consumer goods sector was not for me and that I would be better suited to a research and development role within a different sector.
After a bit of research I came across the STREAM EngD at Newcastle University and I was very interested in pursuing this as my next big career move. This four-year programme combines a PhD-level research project, transferable skills modules and masters level modules. In addition, daily I develop essential critical soft skills and I have the opportunity to collaborate and work with my industrial sponsor Northumbrian Water.
Aside from this there are many other exciting opportunities within the STREAM programme, such as the chance to present papers at conferences and author academic journal papers, and gain support to achieve Chartership.
My research project is driven by the fact that, in today’s society, agriculture uses pesticides to ensure that billions of people globally have food to consume and that pests such as snails and slugs are controlled and not allowed to spoil the food grown. In the water treatment process these pesticides are removed to meet water quality consent limits as set down by regulators. However, there is one pesticide which is mostly resistant to current treatment processes and is proving very difficult to remove. Metaldehyde is typically used as a molluscide to kill slugs and snails. I will be leading research into new approaches to the removal of metaldehyde from source waters using biological processes; a challenge which is faced by many of the UK water companies. Thus my research will be making a massive contribution not just to safeguarding the quality of water in our taps but also to science by identifying the mechanisms by which biological processes interact with metaldehyde.