Theme 7: Circular Economy

Theme 7. Circular economy

Meat processing involves the generation of offal and meat co-products. These traditionally are not valued as highly as prime cuts of meat, however co-products can represent a sustainable source of valuable raw material for other sectors if harvested and processing in a controlled way. Uncontrolled, these materials can represent a threat to the environment if not disposed of or processed properly. In this way, they can represent a cost rather than a potential income stream. There is now a critical requirement to sustainably feed a growing global population, and to find renewable bio-based alternatives to fossil-derived food, feed, materials and energy, provide new valorisation opportunities for such biomass. The creation of a circular bio-economy model with positive economic, environmental, and social impacts will increasingly be required to enable the industry to address challenges relating to sustainability. MTI Phase I developed a roadmap describing the wide range of value-streams possible from meat processing. Phase II aims to exploit the opportunities identified through the roadmap process.

Programme Lead

Dr Lena Madden holds a Degree in Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis and a PhD in Bio-nano Material Science, both completed at Limerick Institute of Technology. Lena has completed two industrial postdoctoral research projects in the area of environmental engineering and is a Principal Investigator in the area of biotechnology, analytical chemistry, environmental and materials engineering. On a Principal investigator capacity, Lena has delivered projects based on developing and validation of analytical methods, biochemical, microbiological testing and many others for industrial partners. Being a business development scientist as Shannon ABC she manages all technical aspects of laboratory operation, infrastructure, instrumentation performance and training, project and products development for industrial clients in biotechnology and environmental engineering areas. Lena’s research interests are in Circular bio refineries, with focus on Anaerobic digestion coupled to algal purification, waste valorisation, GHG emissions–free energy, Circular Hemp and cannabinoids research, Material science both low-toxicity bio-nanomaterials and industrial diamonds production. Lena’s research interests and experience align with UN SDGs 7, 12 and 15 (Affordable and Clean Energy; Responsible Consumption and Production; and Life on Land).

Programme Lead

Dr Aoife Curran received her BSc (Human Nutrition) and PhD from University College Dublin (UCD). Aoife’s PhD research focused on pancreatic beta cell function- where she investigated factors related to beta cell function and determined nutrition strategies to improve it. Aoife previously worked as a Research Scientist with Shannon ABC (Apr 2019- Aug 2021) and was responsible for the design and execution of biotechnology and cell culture based projects, recruitment of volunteer panel for skin probe testing and proactive delivery of projects for companies in the biotechnology, food and cosmetic sectors.

At present, Aoife currently holds the position of Network and Innovation Support Officer on the Natural Future of Cosmetics (NACO) project. She is responsible for developing the network of cosmetic companies, organising training and networking events, liaising with partners in Finland and contributing towards cosmetics expertise in Shannon ABC.

Aoife’s research interests and experience align with UN SDGs 3 and 12 (Good Health and Well-Being; and Responsible Consumption and Production).