iCRAG’s Geoscience for Sustainability PhD programme was launched in 2022 which resulted in the recruitment of over 30 new PhD researchers. iCRAG is delighted to welcome the next generation of researchers who will be future leaders in delivering innovative science and technologies to better understand our planet, sustainably manage our natural resources and protect the environment.
Sajjad Ahmad (TCD)
Project title: Modelling the hydrogeology of former lowland production bog for the purposes of engineering restoration design
As peatlands cover approximately 20% of the land area in the Republic of Ireland, their management is of particular importance in reducing national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Of particular importance is the presence of 'raised bogs', which are recognized as being of national and international conservation importance. In Western Europe raised bogs have almost completely disappeared due to land reclamation for agriculture, fuel production and population growth. None of those raised in Ireland are intact, all bogs having undergone varying degrees of 'loss' due to human intervention. Sajjid's research will try to find sustainable engineering designs for revitalizing and restoring bogs to natural conditions as they were many years ago.
Sajjad is a PhD researcher who has worked as a hydrogeologist with seven years of experience in the field. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from University of the Punjab, Pakistan and a Master's degree in hydrogeology from the same University. He was working as a project Coordinator in Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF-Pakistan) before joining Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Sajjad's professional experience includes national and multinational organizations where he conducted groundwater resource assessments, developed groundwater management plans, wetlands rehabilitation, designed and implemented monitoring programs. He has been actively involved in studies of hydrology/hydrogeology at catchment level that summarizes the catchment water balance owing to compliance for Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) standard. In addition to his professional work, he is passionate about promoting awareness and understanding of hydrogeology. He has volunteered with WWF-Pakistan to provide educational outreach to schools and community groups.
Ankit Swaraj (UG)
Project title: Primary productivity in surface waters of the Irish EEZ.
There is currently a significant knowledge gap in Irish/European marine science because there are almost no in situ data on primary productivity in Irish waters. Despite having more than a decade's worth of access to satellite data on net primary productivity, systematic research to confirm remote sensing estimates has not been done. Ankit’s study will combine and compare different approaches to the measurement of primary productivity in surface seawaters around Ireland to provide improved regional estimates of phytoplankton production from within the Irish EEZ and the European coastal shelf.
Ankit is a PhD researcher at the University of Galway, working under the supervision of Prof. Peter Croot. Ankit finished their B.Sc. (Research) in Earth and Environmental Science from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, in 2017. Since then, Ankit has been part of the stable isotope group (OASIS) at IISc, working as a project assistant and project associate. Ankit loves venturing into the ocean and have participated in three research expeditions, one in the Bay of Bengal and two in the Southern Ocean, to better understand the hydrological cycle and the kinetic processes that govern the isotopic composition of precipitation on the ocean's surface or during moisture generation.
Elena Geiger (UCD)
Project title: Spodumene pegmatite haloes: characterization, exploration vectoring and ore potential
The need for the energy critical element lithium (Li) increased over the last decades and will increase further, mainly due to it being a central component in electric vehicle batteries. Pegmatites are an exotic kind of rock, mostly granitic in composition and the main hard-rock Li source. However, they tend to be poorly exposed and therefore are hard to find. In this PhD project, Elena aims to contribute to a better understanding of the processes during the crystallization of the pegmatites and utilize those findings in order to develop quick and cheap methods to find hidden pegmatites.
From 2016 to 2019 Elena did their undergrads in geosciences at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in Germany, with the major subjects petrology-geodynamics-georesources, applied mineralogy and sedimentology. This was followed by a master degree in geosciences at the same university from 2019 to 2022 with the major subjects petrology-geodynamics-georesources and applied mineralogy. In September 2022 Elena started a PhD in geochemistry and economic geology at University College Dublin (UCD).
Hannah Othen (UCD)
Project title: Tectono-stratigraphic evolution of complexly faulted basin margins in the Irish Carboniferous
Hannah is a PhD researcher within the earths resources sector of iCRAG. She graduated from Keele University with her BSc. and MSc. in Geoscience and Geoscience research respectively. In 2022 Hannah joined iCRAG and University College Dublin under the supervision of Dr. Koen Torremans. Hannah's project will use large datasets including geophysical data and core samples to investigate the structural geology and stratigraphy within the basin margins across the Irish Midlands. This will be linked to finding suitable carbonate host rocks for earth resources including geothermal energy and mineral exploration.