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Dr Paul McKenna

Project Manager - RECIRCULATE, Business Partnerships Manager

Paul McKenna

LEC Building



Tel: +44 1524 510301

Web: http://www.recirculate.global


In October 2017 I was appointed Project Manager for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) RECIRCULATE project. The Lancaster-led project has partners in Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia and is one of 37 projects funded under the GCRF Growing Research Capability call. The RECIRCULATE project will drive eco-innovation in sub-Saharan Africa around the theme of a safe circular water economy, building on the success of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation. There are four work packages with leads in LEC, LUMS, BLS and Engineering.

Prior to my current role I was working as a Business Partnerships Manager from 2011, within the Enterprise and Business Partnerships (EBP) team in the Lancaster Environment Centre. Through this role I identified, developed and supported new collaborative research opportunities and partnerships relevant to a broad spectrum of expertise across LEC. I also handled relationship management of key research partnerships across LEC (e.g. Environment Agency) and a number of resident companies.

The role provided support to members of staff considering opportunities for collaborative working both across LEC and with other partners to exploit new and more diverse income streams for research. I also provided project management of post-award processes, project reporting and monitoring of major LEC research collaborations and projects.

I have previously worked with the Associate Director for Research and Research Promotions Officer in carrying out the preparations for LEC’s submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014.

Prior to this role I was the coordinator of a £1.2M Environment Agency Air Quality Umbrella Project and coordinated the first UK Conference on Energy Policy, “Will the lights go out?” in December 2004.

Research overview

My research interests began in the development of algorithms for data-based transfer function modelling and their application to environmental time series. I also have experience in the application of mechanistic models as tools for horticultural control design and environmental management. Most recently, I have been involved with research into sophisticated data analysis techniques and devices to monitor air pollution for source apportionment purposes. I currently focus primarily on development and management of research partnerships for researchers across LEC.

Research Interests

I graduated in 1993 from Lancaster University with a first class degree in Environmental Science, followed by a PhD entitled “Delta operator modelling, forecasting and control” in 1997.

Through my subsequent postdoctoral research projects I employed these data-based mechanistic transfer function modelling tools in a number of different time series applications:

  • Catchment erosion in partially logged tropical rainforest in Malaysia Borneo (Royal Society funded)
  • Mass and energy flows in imperfectly mixed airspaces in animal housing, in collaboration with Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (BBSRC funded)
  • Coordination of ramp metering sites for inter-urban motorways in collaboration with the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA (UK Highways Agency funded)
  • Development of state-dependent parameter estimation algorithms for modelling non-linear stochastic systems (EPSRC funded).

I have also worked on projects developing larger mechanistic models:

  • Optimal control of nitrate accumulation in greenhouse lettuce and other leafy vegetables using the NICOLET model. This post was at the Technion (Israeli Institute of Technology) in Haifa, Israel (EC FP5 funded).
  • Calibrating and evaluating the Phosphorus Indicators Tool (PIT) to estimate phosphorus losses from soils to surface water (Defra funded).

The common thread running through much of my work is the modelling of flows, whether these are flows of eroded sediments or nutrients in catchments, air mass and energy in animal housing, cars on motorways or nitrates in lettuces.

Recently I have had a limited input into the development of new passive air sampling technologies resulting from collaborative research between LEC and the UK Environment Agency.

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