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PhD Studentship in Dynamic Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Fionnuala Murphy
    Prof Kevin McDonnell
    Dr Joseph Sweeney
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

LIFE Farm4More is an EU funded LIFE project led by UCD, that aims to generate novel animal feed products from novel biorefinery and biochar technologies that will allow for climate change mitigation in agricultural animal protein production, to be achieved. To achieve this goal, LIFE Farm4More will redefine how grass-silage and alternative input substrates are used in animal protein production by:

1.) Designing and operating climate mitigating optimal grass-silage fed-Green Biorefinery and biochar technologies.
2.) Produce climate mitigating optimal animal feeding strategies based on extensive animal feeding trials that will be performed on the biorefinery- and biochar- produced animal feed products,.
3.) Develop and apply climate mitigating optimal land management strategies for all biorefinery input substrates that will be sourced.


Farm4More will change how biorefineries operate all the way from how input substrates are procured (land management strategies; alternative feedstock supply chains) to how the products produced are used (animal feeding strategies). To this end there is a requirement to determine the holistic environmental impacts not only of the Farm4More technology and the various processes it comprises of but also the effects that implementing the technology and its respective climate mitigating strategies, will have at farm-level.

To ensure that iterative optimisations of LIFE Farm4More’s respective biorefinery technologies, animal feeding- and land management-strategies are “climate mitigating impact” focused, an LCA methodology that is both dynamic and iterative in nature, is required. The successful PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr. Fionnuala Murphy with input from Prof. Kevin McDonnell and Dr. Joe Sweeney will be tasked with implementing an LCA methodology that differs from conventional LCA in that, it will allow for technology and strategy optimisations to be assessed dynamically as opposed to statically. The implementation of a novel Dynamic LCA will mean that the successful candidate will be involved in all technology and strategy development and optimisation steps, for the duration of the project.

The LCA work that will be performed in this project will be directed towards utilising LIFE project performance indicators (KPI) to develop a systems-level assessment of the sustainability of the individual protein-production steps that constitute the full Farm4More process. The LCA outputs will contribute to the refinement of the overall Farm4More process to minimise environmental impacts by identifying ‘hotspots’ in the system which contribute significantly to environmental impacts and assessing the impact of interventions at these hotspots.

Relevant disciplines; To fulfil this role the candidate must have achieved a primary degree in Process Engineering, Life Cycle Assessment, Modelling or related discipline. Experience in Python or similar programming languages will be deemed advantageous.

Funding Notes

Stipend: €18,000 per annum (+ contribution of fees up to €7,120 per annum)
PhD Duration: up to 4 years
Expected start date: September 2019

To apply please send your CV and cover letter detailing motivation and career plan. Applicants must also provide evidence that they meet the Minimum English Language Requirements for UCD http://www.ucd.ie/registry/admissions/elr.htm



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