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Getting to know Ciara Beausang

Research Officer Ciara Beausang tells us about the exciting work happening in her specialised field of anaerobic digestion, and the directions in which it’s moving.

Ciara Beausang

Hi Ciara! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a Research Officer in anaerobic digestion based in Grange. Anaerobic digestion is a process whereby organic matter is broken down by microbes in the absence of oxygen. This results in the production of biogas, a source of renewable energy. Biogas can be purified to biomethane to substitute natural gas. 

Where did your interest in scientific research stem from?

I’ve been fascinated by the natural world from a young age. I grew up close to nature in my native East Cork. In my early teens I watched the documentary An Inconvenient Truth and from there I was interested in future-proofing our planet.

What does your career path at Teagasc look like?

During my BSc I spent a summer on placement in Oak Park with the Crops Research Department. I undertook research on insect diversity in different potato varieties for my undergraduate dissertation. I enjoyed carrying out research and I decided to do a PhD at University College Dublin, where I looked at the environmental impacts of anaerobic digestion. I returned to Teagasc as a postdoctoral researcher, before taking up the position of Research Officer.

What are your current research interests?

Part of my role is to develop a research programme in the area of agricultural anaerobic digestion. The Government has an ambitious target of delivering up to 5.7 TWh of biomethane by 2030. This is the equivalent of approximately 10% of our current demand for natural gas.

What has been a particular highlight of your career at Teagasc so far?

It’s an exciting time to work in the field of anaerobic digestion, which is an emerging technology in Ireland. I’ve been in my current role with Teagasc for just over four months and during that time I’ve had many opportunities to connect with people in industry, policy and civil society who are interested in learning about anaerobic digestion.

What are some of your interests/hobbies outside of work?

I’m passionate about food. Outside of work I enjoy cooking and sharing my food experiences on social media. I like trying new restaurants, experimenting with different ingredients and
flavours, and learning about the history and traditions behind particular dishes.

Email: ciara.beausang@teagasc.ie

Check out this video of Ciara speaking about the Anaerobic Digestion plant at Teagasc Grange