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Queen’s to lead European project in clean up of contaminated land

A new research project at Queen’s University Belfast is aiming to use sustainable methods to clean up contaminated land.

REMEDIATE is coordinated by the QUESTOR Centre at Queen’s, and is working with researchers and industrial partners from Europe and North America.

Years of industrialisation or poor land management practices has resulted in thousands of contaminated sites across Europe, posing serious environmental, economic, and health risks.

The four-year European initiative will bring together scientists and engineers who will develop technologies to help accelerate the remediation of contaminated sites, releasing land for industrial or domestic development.

The QUESTOR Centre has been awarded €3.7 million to lead the four year project, which will support 14 researchers in UK, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy, working with 14 industrial partners.

Professor Mike Larkin, from Biological Sciences at Queen’s, is leading the project: “There are an estimated 3.5 million potentially contaminated sites in the whole of the EU, of which about half a million are expected to be actually contaminated and in need of remediation.

“Until these are identified and assessed, they will continue to pose potentially serious environmental, economic, social and health risks.
“This is a multidisciplinary collaboration committed to the provision of innovative research and training for more cost effective and sustainable remediation of contaminated land.

“It would not have been possible for Queen’s University to lead such a project without the expertise and co-ordination of staff in the QUESTOR Centre. It demonstrates the capacity that Queen’s has to lead in important international collaborations,” he said.

Established 25 years ago, QUESTOR is an industry-collaborative centre for world-leading environmental research. It is the only Centre outside the United States to be part of the NSF IUCRC (Industry-University Co-operative Research Centre) programme. It has an international standing as a Centre of Excellence for Environmental Research and makes significant contributions to the regional and national economies.

In addition to coordination of the project, scientists at Queen’s will be focussed on novel methods of engineering biological clean-up process in collaboration between Biological Sciences and Civil Engineering.

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