Today is International Education Day, and to mark the occasion, we reached out to Jake Smallbone, a third-year PhD student at the University of Essex with an interest in the microbial ecology of marine environments. Jake is currently focusing on hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria and how marine oil spills and the use of remediation strategies such as chemical dispersant use impact them.
We have been proud to support Jake, providing funding and expertise to enhance his research and connect with industry partners.
We recently appointed a new position within the company, Science, Technology, and Stakeholder Engagement Manager, which aims to shape the response techniques of the future via targeted research, protect existing tools in the response toolbox via education, and inspire future response expertise via higher education outreach.
Our academic outreach initiatives, such as university talks, will help us continue building relationships in education.
The effectiveness of chemical dispersants use in mitigating marine oil pollution.
As part of his third-year studies, PhD student Jake has been looking at The effectiveness of chemical dispersants use in mitigating marine oil pollution.
We spoke to Jake and he shared with us how his studies could help shape the techniques we use in our response going forward.
“I am currently a third-year Ph.D. student at the University of Essex with interest in the microbial ecology of marine environments, focusing on hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria and how marine oil spills and the use of remediation strategies such as chemical dispersant use impact them.
This PhD aims to understand how the use of chemical dispersants as a remediation tool for oil spill clean ups impacts marine environment processes and their microbial communities. Our main points of interest are how chemical dispersant use impacts biodegradation rates under relevant environmental conditions by looking at how bacterial communities may change over time in the presence of oil and dispersants and how the use of chemical dispersants interacts with processes such as marine oil snow formation and what this may mean for our natural environments.
This research aims to bridge the gaps in knowledge and answer the various discrepancies we have regarding chemical dispersant use to improve response strategies towards spill events better when they occur.
The project itself is directly co-supervised by OSRL, who have been involved since the beginning and have kindly provided funding towards the various projects that have been undertaken during my time on the PhD programme. This has given me access to various support networks and has allowed me to share this work with notable industry partners who have all shown great interest in the work being produced.
Some of my highlights from the last couple of years include being able to present at last year's ITAC to both industry and academic colleagues, which has also allowed me to start developing a network of colleagues that, in the future, may be beneficial to my growth. My other main highlight would be the opportunity I have been provided to present at IOSC 2024 this coming may, in which I was offered a very generous scholarship to be able to make the trip. “
By engaging the scientific community, we can communicate the key TPR & NEBA messages for response strategy development into academic teaching programs and R&D projects and support the development of cutting-edge science-driven solutions, techniques, and knowledge through partnerships with leading research institutes. Our mission is reinforced by these relationships in ensuring key stakeholder communities are leveraged to aid efficient and effective response to oil spills on a global basis.
We hope to expand our engagement within education this year with our dedicated Science, Technology & Stakeholder Engagement team.
The next events we will be attending will be a University talk at Imperial College London (our Chief Executive Officer, Vania De Stefani is attending as alumni) on 8 February and we will have a presence at Southampton University careers fair on 15 February.