Returning Fellowships

The NRN-LCEE Returning Fellowship Scheme was designed to facilitate researchers returning to their work from leave for reasons of maternity/ paternity/ adoption/ health/ caring.

Ten Fellowships were awarded. Through the initiative the Fellows were given an opportunity to dedicate a greater percentage of their time to developing their research, delivering high quality publications and increased grant income - thereby adding significant benefit to their scientific endeavours in Wales.

The NRN-LCEE Returning Fellows were:

Dr Esther Jones University of South Wales

Ester is a quantitative ecologist with a background in applied ecology of marine top predators. Since finishing an EPSRC Research Fellowship, she has become interested in more general spatial ecology problems.

Ester’s NRN-LCEE Returning Fellowship enabled her to develop her research in the applied ecology of marine top predators. With the Fellowship funding, Ester was able to build a new collaboration with the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews. Using data from mudflats and saltmarshes at important conservation sites in Morecambe Bay and Essex, the collaboration investigated the relationship between ecosystem service flows and biodiversity. Through spatial modelling predictions, the findings can also be applied to other sites around the UK to inform national spatial management plans. Esther also used Fellowship funds to present her research at the International Statistical Ecology Conference in St Andrews, UK.

Ester's aclaim for the scheme:

"The NRN-LCEE Returning Fellowship has allowed me to pursue my research interests and through doing so, has opened future potential funding streams, allowing me to progress my career."

Dr Liz Bagshaw Cardiff University

Liz is a glaciologist who is particularly interested in biogeochemical processes in extreme cold environments and in developing new methods to measure them.

Liz’s NRN-LCEE Returning Fellowship enabled her to develop her research into new methods to measure biogeochemical processes in extreme cold environments to understand how increased glacial melt resulting from climate change will affect the Earth’s systems. With the Fellowship funding, Liz was able to explore new techniques to measure meltwater underneath the Greenland ice sheet with collaborators in the USA and the UK and work with engineers to develop wireless instruments that can send data back through the ice. The Fellowship also enabled her to present results from trials of her wireless sensors in Greenland at the International Glaciological Society meeting in Exeter and visit the University of Washington to discuss instrument designs and collaborate on funding applications.

Dr Kerri Farrar Cardiff University

Kerrie is interested in novel approaches to optimising plant growth and resilience to environmental stresses via plant-microbe interactions.

Kerrie’s NRN-LCEE Returning Fellowship enabled her to develop her research into novel approaches to optimise bioenergy crop production via plant-microbe interactions, focussing on bacteria adapted to life within plants as sustainable, climate-resilient crop applications. With the Fellowship funding Kerrie collaborated with the University of Arizona to source seed and plant material in order to initiate new experiments, attended a highly specialised microscopy training course, and presented at international conferences in the UK, Ireland and Egypt. She also accepted an invitation from CAB Reviews to write an article on identifying beneficial organisms for bioenergy crops.

Dr Sophie Ward Bangor University

Sophie's research focuses on the Marine Renewable Energy sector around the Welsh Coast, with expertise in tidal modelling.

Sophie’s NRN-LCEE Returning Fellowship enabled her to extend her numerical modelling research into coupled hydrodynamic-ecosystem modelling of marine renewable energy, by considering the impacts of extracting energy from the tides on marine biogeochemistry - and hence ecosystems - around the Welsh coast. Sophie used the Fellowship funds to connect with several research groups, including at Marine Scotland Science, the University of Exeter, and at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. The Fellowship also enabled her to attend meetings including the Marine Ecosystem Research Programme science meeting in London and a workshop on science communication in Cardiff, run a MASTS workshop in Glasgow on the challenges of working in high tidal stream sites and attend the American Geoscience Union Fall Meeting 2018.

Dr Jessica Adams Aberystwyth University

Jessica's reserach research interests lie in the use of macroalgae (seaweeds) for biorefining, especially in the extraction of high value products; and in bioprospecting from novel microbial populations, both as isolated cultures and in metagenomic datasets.

Jessica’s NRN-LCEE Returning Fellowship enabled her to develop her research into the use of macroalgae (seaweeds) for biorefining - a process in which high-value products are extracted and the remainder processed to minimise ‘waste’. With the Fellowship funding Jessica was able to make and maintain links with researchers in the UK, Germany, Iceland, Ireland and Japan and present at international conferences in Ireland, Denmark and Canada with excellent new collaboration opportunities. Her Fellowship also enabled her to establish a relationship with GreenSeas Resources, a seaweed processing company, with whom she successfully acquired funding for two KESS2 PhD studentships.

Jessica's aclaim for the scheme:

"The Returning Fellowship has been a fantastic, flexible award which I am utterly delighted to have received. It has provided me with the means to achieve my potential."

Dr Emma Hayhurst University of South Wales

Emma's research interests lie in the area of environmental antibiotic resistance.

Emma’s NRN-LCEE Returning Fellowship enabled her to develop her research in the area of the transmission and detection of antibiotic resistance including assessing the effectiveness of wastewater treatment methods at reducing antibiotic resistance in sludge destined for agricultural land. Emma used her Fellowship funds to travel across Wales and the UK to build collaborations and now has research projects with Welsh Water and the Aneurin Bevan Health Board. She also funded a visit from a Professor from Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, with whom she then submitted a funding application. Emma has presented her work at various conferences, including winning second prize for her poster at an NHS research conference, and best poster at the Society for Applied Microbiology’s conference on wastewater and antibiotic resistance. She has also used her Fellowship to fund public engagement activities such as Soapbox Science in Swansea.

Emma's aclaim for the scheme:

"The Fellowship has been completely instrumental in my successful return to research after having children. I have used it to buy out teaching, and this has allowed me to manage my workload at a time when life is pretty busy. I have also used it to fund travel of both myself and a key collaborator, allowing me to build my connections and reputation in this area of research, and to learn from the experts around the world."

Dr Elaine Jensen Aberystwyth University

Elaine's research focusses on bioremediation, with particular interest in the application of energy crops such as Miscanthus and Phalaris in the remediation of contaminated mine tailings.


Dr Katrien Van Landeghem Bangor University

Katrien studies how the seabed as a dynamic interface that reveals the nature of fundamental glacial, hydrodynamic and sediment transport processes in the past and in the present.


Dr Claire Risley Aberystwyth University.

Claire is interested in quantitative approaches to the analysis of interactions between climate, biodiversity, endangerment and disease in animal populations.


Dr Sindia Sosdian Cardiff University.

Sindia's research focuses on the use of novel and traditional geochemical techniques in coral skeletons to understand the impact of land use on the biogeochemistry and health of coral reef systems, and examine their adaptability in the face of modern-day environmental stresses.