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Prestigious International Fellowship for promising young researcher

Dr Karina MarsdenDr Karina MarsdenA post-doctoral researcher at Bangor University’s School of Natural Sciences, has been awarded a prestigious  European Commission Horizon2020 funded Marie Sklodowska Curie Global Fellowship.

The fellowship, which allows for international mobility and knowledge exchange will enable Dr Karina Marsden of Bethesda to spend two years working in The University of Melbourne, Australia, before returning to Bangor University for the final year of her research project.  It was awarded following a successful joint application by Bangor and Melbourne universities.

During the training-through-research project, Karina will have opportunities to learn mathematical modelling, molecular ecology and stable isotope methods in order to better understand soil nitrogen cycling within dairy farms. The project, ‘Target-N2O’, aims to establish the environmental and economic effectiveness of strategies to reduce nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas, which is released from intensive dairy farms.

Karina, who is 29 years old, is a former pupil of Ysgol Friars, Bangor and completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and her PhD in Soil and Environmental Science at Bangor. Since her PhD she has been working as a post-doctoral researcher at Bangor University.

She said: “I am very much looking forward to beginning the Marie Sklodowska Curie Global Fellowship. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to gain international experience at The University of Melbourne, to develop global networks with leading scientists in the field and to learn brand new skill-sets which I can apply to my future research. I will have the opportunity to share new techniques learnt with my colleagues and post-graduate students when I return to Bangor University, in the final year of the fellowship.”

Dave Chadwick, Professor of Sustainable Land Use Systems at the School of Natural Sciences said:

“It’s fantastic to see Karina’s continued success. She started her PhD on ‘Sheep urine patch nitrous oxide emissions: Measurement and mitigation’, with me and Prof Davey Jones in 2012, resulting in 7 publications. She then followed this with her first post-doctoral research position on a NERC funded project that I lead, to explore the interaction between sheep grazing behaviour and urine-derived nitrous oxide emissions in the upland pastures. This research has received increasing attention as it suggests that the carbon footprint of lambs reared in the uplands could be lower than we currently estimate. Karina’s new Marie-Curie Fellowship allows her to pursue her interests in sustainable livestock production with a stellar research group in Australia. I am looking forward to this new and exciting collaboration with Prof Rich Eckard and his team at the University of Melbourne, and the publications that will follow!”

Karina went on to explain her work saying:

“The Target-N2O project will be looking at potential ways to reduce the powerful greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, from dairy farms. Nitrous oxide has been called the ‘forgotten greenhouse gas’, as more people are aware of methane when considering greenhouse gas emissions from livestock. Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas in comparison to carbon dioxide, and is produced by soil microorganisms in areas where there are high levels of nitrogen, such as where fertiliser is applied or where livestock deposit excreta within pastures. Contributing to our understanding of ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms is important, as food production systems across the world need to become more sustainable.”

Publication date: 15 October 2018