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The Brainwaves Project has now finished

However, this is not the end of the duckweed research in Prof. Marcel Jansen's group. To find out more about the ongoing research please visit the Duck-Feed Project website.

What is the BRAINWAVES Project?


Brainwaves takes a circular economy approach to sustainable agriculture. Using a common aquatic plant known as duckweed, Brainwaves’ scientists are trialing innovative technological systems to grow duckweed on agricultural waste streams, which will, if successful, offer farmers the dual benefits of cleaning farm waste while also growing a high-protein crop. In essence, through the up-take of excess nutrients (nitrates and phosphates), duckweed can create value from waste in the form of a high-protein biomass which can be used in animal feed, reducing farmers’ reliance on imported soybean. This research has the potential to bring tangible economic and environmental benefits to farming practices in Ireland, Wales, and beyond.

What's Happening

Livestock Slurry Crew!!
18 Oct 2023

New Brainwaves Publication!! Acidification increases efficiency of Lemna minor N and P recovery from diluted cattle slurry

This research investigated the potential for using Lemna minor to recover N and P from slurry over a five-week trial, assessing whether previously reported increased growth on acidified wastewater translates into greater nutrient removal. Read more here.
Read more
Local dairy farmers gather together in UCC to discuss the future for integrating duckweed cultivation in Irish farming
04 Sep 2023

Duckweed as a novel protein crop for Ireland

We were delighted to recently spend a fruitful day with local dairy farmers at the Brainwaves stakeholder engagement event in UCC. The farming industry in Ireland is rapidly changing, with both new threats and new opportunities arising.  At this informal event Prof Marcel Jansen presented on some of the new opportunities for integrating duckweed cultivation in Irish farming. PhD candidate, Cian Redmond, discussed the results from his reserach conducted by growing Duckweed on waste water streams collected from local dairy farms. Stephen O’Sullivan presented on the story of the Green Farmer Cooperative, and their work on duckweed as a cash-crop for dairy farmers.  After the informal talks we embarked into the Indian summer sunshine for an informative tour and demonstration of the Duckweed Growth Facilities both in the labs and glasshouses at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.   Thank you to our stakeholders for participating in the Brainwaves project, sharing their insights from a farmers perspective and for making the day such an interesting and informative event. 
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Dr Dylan Gwynn-Jones being interviewed by BBC Radio 4 for ‘Farming Today’ at the RWS 2023
02 Aug 2023

A busy day at the Royal Welsh Show 2023

An early start for the Aberystwyth Brainwaves team on Tuesday 25th July as we headed off for the Royal Welsh Show. Dylan’s day kicked off with an interview with BBC Radio 4 for ‘Farming Today’ talking about growing duckweed as a source of protein for animal feed, which was broadcast the following morning as  part of a series of interviews from around the show.
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From left: Brainwaves Project Manager, Dr Siobhan Higgins, Development Officer, Samantha Richardson and Brainwaves Local Project Manager, Lesley Langstaff
19 Jul 2023

Celebrating Ireland Wales co-operation since 1994 and a look to the future

Project partners and Programme Monitoring Committee members gathered in Portmarnock, Dublin on 23rd June to celebrate the success of the 2014-2020 Ireland Wales European Territorial Co-operation Programme. The event, compared by Newstalk’s Jonathan Healy, provided the stage for project beneficiaries in Ireland and Wales to talk about their experiences of working together across the Irish Sea, following opening video addresses from Mark Drakeford the First Minister of Wales and Pascal Donohoe, Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform in Ireland.
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Brainwaves is a 3.5-year research project funded by the  European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme. Brainwaves' university partners include:

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Environmental Research Institute in University College Cork in Ireland.  

Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences in Aberystwyth University in Wales.  

BRAINWAVES is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme

BRAINWAVES, School of Biological Earth & Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, Ireland , T23 TK30