Prof Kirk Semple


Research profile:

Since my appointment in 1995, I have strategically developed and managed an active research team, supported by excellent analytical (LC-MS, GC-MS, HPLC-14C detector, sample oxidisation, liquid scintillation counting) and microbiological facilities (incubation, handling, 12C- and 14C-respirometry). The main fields of research interest include understanding fundamental processes affecting organic contaminant-biota interactions in soils; availability of pesticide residues in soils, and risk assessment and bioremediation of contaminated land and, most recently, the use of anaerobic digestion for energy generation in wastewater treatment and the use of resulting by-products as soil amendments. A particular area of expertise lies in organic contaminant bioavailability in soil, and it is in this area where my reputation is best known internationally. Funding has come from NERC, BBSRC and EPSRC; Government agencies, including the DTI and Pesticide Safety Directorate; environmental consultancies, such as Remedios and BAE Systems, and industry, including National Grid and Syngenta, all of which equates to over £2.5 million pounds in funding over the last 17 years.

Output from these areas has led to the publication of over 160 peer-reviewed journal and international conference papers. In addition, I sit/sat on the editorial boards of Journal of Applied Soil Ecology, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Journal of Soil and Sediment, Soil & Sediment Contamination, Journal of Applied Microbiology and Letters in Applied Microbiology, and have also been invited to act as guest editor for special issues of Environmental Pollution, Journal of Environmental Quality and Journal of Applied Microbiology. I also have specific responsibility for Lancaster’s MSc in Contaminated Land and Remediation and MSc in Environmental Science and Technology, but also teach on several Undergraduate and other Masters level modules in the area of environmental microbiology and ecotoxicology. Between 2005 and 2010, I acted as external examiner for MSc programmes in Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Science, Forestry and Soil Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen. From September 2009-11, I acted as the external examiner for the MSc programme in Soils and Environmental Pollution, in the Department of Soil Science, School of Human and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading. I also developed, administered and delivered a 4 day CPD programme on Contaminated Land Risk Assessment and Remediation (2006-07).


Current research group:

Dr Shams Usmani, KTP Fellow with United Utilities plc (2011-13). Ddeveloping novel sludge granules (BIOSORBENT) capable of sequestering the organic fraction in sewage.
Matt Riding (PhD, 2009-2013). Impact of nanoparticles on the bioaccessibility of organic contaminants.
PDRA (2013) - Resource Recovery from Bio-energy Generation Waste
Bilqees Adedigba (PhD, 2009-2013). Determining bioremediation endpoints in contaminated soil.
Olusoji Olusegun (PhD, 2010-2014). Bioremediation of hydrocarbon contaminated land.
Ihuoma Anyanwu (PhD, 2010-2014). Bioavailability of organic contaminants in soil and sediments: implication for biodegradation and toxicity.
Michael Fagbohungbe (PhD, 2012-2015). Anaerobic digestion process regimes for energy recovery from waste
Khasifah Muhamad (PhD, 2012-2015). Soil biochar interactions in temperate and tropical soils


University awards:

Commercialisation and Industry Award for work on land, water and air contamination and soil remediation (Lancaster University, 2006).


Editorial activities:

Editorial board, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (2007-09; 2011-13)

Subject editor, Journal of Soils and Sediments (2006-)

Editorial board, Soil & Sediment Contamination (2005-)

Subject editor, Soil Biology and Biochemistry (2003-2010)

Editorial board, Journal of Applied Microbiology (2001-2010)

Editorial board, Letters in Applied Microbiology (2001-2010)