Professor Kirk SempleProfessor
Kirk is a Professor of Environmental Microbiology with nearly 30 years of research experience. His main fields of research interest include understanding fundamental processes affecting organic contaminant-biota interactions in soils; availability of organic contaminant residues in soils, and risk assessment and bioremediation of contaminated land and, most recently, the use of microorganisms for energy generation and the application of the resulting by-products as soil amendments or alternatives to conventional fertiliser. 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.
Kirk has been awareded research funding from NERC, BBSRC, EPSRC and GCRF (ESRC); Government agencies, including the DTI and Pesticide Safety Directorate; environmental consultancies, such as Remedios and Stopford Energy & Environment, and industry, including National Grid and Syngenta, and internationally from the European Union, the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Competitiveness and Industry and the Australian Government through the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE). Current projects include:
Formulating novel fertilisers and land conditioners from bioenergy wastes (funded by BBSRC and Innovate UK)
Bioenergy waste residues as alternatives to conventional inorganic fertilisers for sustainable food production in sub-Saharan Africa (funded by NERC, International Opportunities Fund)
Driving Eco-Innovation in Africa: capacity building for a safe circular water economy (RECIRCULATE; GCRF funded)
Resource Recoviery from Waste: Developng a suite of novel land conditioners and plant fertilisers from waste streams of biomass energy generation (funded by NERC/Defra)
Minimising Uncertainty in Human Health Risk Assessment Programme: Development of a fully integrated risk assessment system for contaminated land (based at CRC-Care, University of Newcastle, Australia)
From bioavailability science to soil remediation: Sustainable stimulation of biological networks for enhanced pollutant carbon turnover (led by Dr JJ Ortega Calvo: funded by Spanish Ministry of Economy, Competitiveness and Industry)
ISOMICS: Interaction between synthetic organic pollutants and the microbial pump in coastal seawaters (led by Dr M. Vila-Costa: funded by Spanish Ministry of Economy, Competitiveness and Industry)
Kirk has published over 200 peer-reviewed journal, book chapters and international conference papers and has a H-index of 45 (WoS), 46 (Scopus) and 56 (Google Scholar).
Director of International Engagement within LEC (2015 to present)
Assistant Dean International for the Faculty of Science and Techology (2019 to present)
Interim Director of the Future Cities Research Institute (October 2019 to present)
Visting professor in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Benin in Nigeria (2017 to present)
Currently, he is one of the editors in chief for Environmental Technology and Innovation. In addition, he sits/has 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 I have also been invited to act as guest editor for special issues of Environmental Pollution, Journal of Environmental Quality and Journal of Applied Microbiology.
Kirk is currently responsible for the following postgraduate modules:
Contaminated Land and Remediation
Between 2005 and 2010, Kirk 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, he 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. Between 2013 and 2017, he was the external examiner for the MSc in Environmental Consultancy and the MSc in Environmental and Petroleum Geochemistry within the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Winner of the Commercialisation and Industry Award for work on land, water and air contamination and soil remediation (Lancaster University, 2006).
Awarded a CRC CARE Fellowship by Prof Ravi Naidu, Managing Director and CEO of CRC CARE, based at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia (September, 2015).
Presented with The Green Label Award by Prof Lawrence Ezemonye, the President of the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES) in recognition of my contribution in pioneering academia-industry linkages and eco-innovation in Nigeria (November 2017).
PhD Supervision Interests
I am willing to consider PhD projects in the following areas: (i) Biodegradation of contaminants in soils. (ii) Fate and behaviour of persistent organic contaminant residues in soil. (iii) Bioavailability and bioaccessibility of contaminants in soils. (iv) Risk assessment and remediation of contaminated soils. (v) Organic wastes and bioenergy. (vi) Bioenergy residues as soil amendments for soil and food security .
ACTUATE : Accelerating the adoption of circular sanitation demonstration systems for improved health outcomes
01/10/2019 → 31/03/2021
GCRF Global IAA Institutional Award:RECIRCULATE impact event
01/12/2018 → 31/03/2019
RECIRCULATE : GCRF: Driving eco-innovation in Africa:capacity-building for a safe circular water economy
01/10/2017 → 31/12/2021
- Centre for Global Eco-innovation
- Innovation for a better environment
- Soil Plant and Land Systems