This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Sunday 9 June 2024, 2.30pm to 3.30pm
  • Location: In-person only
    Law and Sociology Building, Campus East, University of York (Map)
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Poo can be a real problem, but also an opportunity. With the average human producing 145kg of poo a year and a dairy cow 62kg per day, there’s certainly plenty of it to do something with.

Join us as our expert panel of speakers explores the problems and opportunities arising from the management of our poo, revealing how it can be used to find solutions to climate change. Find out how this natural resource can be turned into a range of sustainable options, including bio-energy and fertilisers that are returned to the land.

The event, which has been organised by the Biorenewables Development Centre, also features a range of hands-on activities.

Suitable for all: Whether you are an adult attending alone or with friends, or a family group with children, this event is for you

About the speakers

Anna Alessi is Project and Communications Manager at the Biorenewables Development Centre, which is an open-access R&D centre based at the University of York. She manages a diverse range of projects in collaboration with academia, industry, and local farmers. The projects focus on exploring novel food production systems, industrial biotechnology for bio-based products and bioenergy production. Anna also serves as a project manager for a £4M BBSRC-funded sLOLA project at the Department of Biology, led by Prof Gavin Thomas, and includes academic partners from the Universities of York, Cambridge, Newcastle, and Nottingham. Anna has a background in molecular microbiology and has previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the University of York's Department of Biology. During her time there, she contributed to several large, multidisciplinary collaborative projects. She gained expertise in anaerobic digestion and analyzing complex microbial communities using multi-omics approaches.

Steve Bagshaw is Chair of BioYorkshire.  He has over 35 years’ experience across the biotechnologies and fine chemicals business and manufacturing sectors.  Steve is currently Chair of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and has been a Council Member of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council since January 2021.   He was CEO for six years of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies – a globally leading contact biopharmaceutical manufacturing and development organisation.  Prior to that he led the UK business for seven years based in the north-east of England in Billingham, Teesside.  Steve also worked on the UK Government’s Vaccines Task Force as an Industry Advisor from 2020 to 2022.  He chaired the UK’s Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum from 2013 to 2021 and was Co-Chair of the UK Bioeconomy Strategy Board between 2016 and 2021 – leading to the publication of the UK Government’s Bioeconomy Strategy in December 2018. He was awarded a CBE in 2020 for services to the UK Manufacturing and Biotechnology Sector. 

James Chong is Director of the Centre of Excellence for Anaerobic Digestion (CEAD), York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI) Food, Water, Waste Theme Co-Lead and a Professor in the Department of Biology, University of York. James was introduced to industrial research as an undergraduate at the University of Manchester where his BSc in Molecular Biology included a sandwich year working in GSK’s Natural Products pilot plant at Greenford. He learned protein biochemistry as part of his PhD at Cancer Research UK and gained yeast genetics experience with EMBO and HFSP fellowships at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York. James returned to the UK as a BBSRC David Phillips Fellow at the University of Bath in 2000. He moved to the University of York in 2004. He was awarded a Royal Society Industry Fellowship in 2016 which allowed him to redirect his research to use ‘omics techniques to understanding the microbial community dynamics of anaerobic digestion (AD). He currently works with Yorkshire Water, other UK water companies and other commercial users of AD, to optimise resource recovery from organic wastes such as sewage.

Martin Folan is Innovation Partnerships and Portfolio Manager at Yorkshire Water. He has worked across a number of sectors over the last 25 years, focusing primarily on change management and delivery of innovative solutions to complex problems. In his second stint at Yorkshire Water, Martin is tasked with delivering innovation that spans the full water cycle, to help deliver a thriving Yorkshire, right for customers, and right for the environment. A member of the BioYorkshire Advisory Group, and Future Humber Advisory Board, he has also recently started to champion national initiatives to deliver value and equity for customers across the water and wastewater sector.

Kerian Holiday is currently working as the Science and Conservation Officer at Flamingo Land, where he oversees the research undertaken on site and leads on native species conservation projects. He also holds the voluntary position of sustainability officer. He has a BSc in Zoology from Swansea University and an MSc in Conservation Ecology from Oxford Brookes University. Kieran has previously worked as an animal technician and spent a period of time training and working in conservation on a reserve in Botswana. 


University of York BioYorkshire

Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Hearing loop