Timothy Sullivan


Tim ‍earned his BSc in Environmental Science at UCC, before completing his PhD within the Marine and Environmental Sensing Technology Hub, the School of Chemical Sciences and the National Centre for Sensor Research at Dublin City University. He held several postdoctoral positions at DCU before moving to the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).

He is currently lecturer of Environmental Science at University College Cork, where he is also head of MESA. He contributes significantly to the undergraduate Environmental Science programme, contributes at postgraduate level to the MSc in Applied Environmental Geology and co-ordinates the MRes in Environmental Sciences.

Research Interests

Tim’s main interests lie at the interface of marine and aquatic chemistry, analytical chemistry and materials science. He is interested in novel bio-inspired (and biomimetic) materials, climate change and the marine environment, and the use of sensors in environmental monitoring. 

He has worked on aquatic microbial communities, biofilms and benthic diatoms, and the development of novel materials for the prevention of biological growth on materials, including nano-material based coatings, micro- and nano-topographically structured surfaces and omniphobic materials.

At the moment, Tim supervises one PhD candidate and two Masters students, as well as overseeing a number of undergraduate research projects.


  • Biomimetic materials
  • Anti-biofouling materials
  • Aquatic microbial communities
  • Environmental monitoring sensors
  • The effects of climate change on the marine environment


Select recent publications:

2020 Power, B.; O'Connor, E.; Eakins, J.; McInerney, C.; Hellebust, S. and T. Sullivan. "Environmental Outcomes From Licence Enforcement Activity (2017-SE-MS-10)" EPA Research Report (2020). [Link]
2020 Quinlivan, L.; Chapman, D. V., and T. Sullivan"Applying citizen science to monitor for the Sustainable Development Goal Indicator 6.3. 2: a review." Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 192.4 (2020): 1-11. [DOI]
2020 Quinlivan, L.; Chapman, D. and T. Sullivan"Validating citizen science monitoring of ambient water quality for the United Nations sustainable development goals" Science of the Total Environment, 699 (2020): 134255. [DOI]
2019 Kommeren, S.; Guerin, A. J.; Dale, M. L.; Ferguson, J.; Lyall, G.; Reynolds, K. J.; Clare, A. S.; Bastiaansen, C. W. M., and T. Sullivan. "Antifouling and Fouling-Release Performance of
Photo-Embossed Fluorogel Elastomers." Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 7 (2019): 419. [DOI]
2019 Sullivan, T. "Taking the rough with the smooth: controlling surface topography as an antifouling strategy– recent progress and new insights?" (Invited Speaker) 4th ANZPAC Workshop for Biofouling Management and Sustainable Shipping/1st GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling R&D Forum and Exhibition on Biofouling Management, Melbourne (2019). [Details] [News Item]
2019 Binner, H.; Sullivan, T.; Kamali, N.; Hayes, M. and M. Harding. "Assessment of the potential environmental impacts arising from mercury-free dental restorative materials."  International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Annual Meeting, Cork (2019).
2019 O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "On the micro-structural features of a pollution-tolerant freshwater isopod, Asellus aquaticus." ESA Annual Meeting, Louisville, KY (2019).
2019 O'Callaghan, I.; Harrison, S. S. C.; Fitzpatrick, D. and T. Sullivan. "The freshwater isopod Asellus aquaticus as a model biomonitor of environmental pollution: A review" Chemosphere 235 (2019): 498-509. [DOI]
2019 Harrison, S. S. C.; McAree, C.; Mulville, W. and T. Sullivan. "The problem of agricultural ‘diffuse’ pollution: Getting to the point" Science of the Total Environment 667 (2019): 700-717. [DOI]
2019 Sullivan, T. "Cell Shape and Surface Colonisation in the Diatom Genus Cocconeis—An Opportunity to Explore Bio-Inspired Shape Packing" Biomimetics 4.2 (2019). [DOI]
2019 O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "The effects of surfactants on the microbial biofilm associated with the benthic isopod Asellus aquaticus." 17th International Conference on Chemistry and the Environment, Thessaloniki (2019).
2019 O'Callaghan, I.; Harrison, S. S. C.; Fitzpatrick, D. and T. Sullivan. "The benthic isopod Asellus aquaticus as a model biomonitor for metallic nanoparticle pollution in freshwater systems." SETAC Europe 29th Annual Meeting, Helsinki (2019).
2019 O'Callaghan, I., and T. Sullivan. "Asellus aquaticus as a potential biomonitor of trace metal pollution in freshwaters." ENVIRON 2019, Carlow (2019).
2019 Quinlivan, L.; Chapman, D. and T. Sullivan. "Science of the future? - Does citizen science provide a means of monitoring water quality for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?" ENVIRON 2019, Carlow (2019).
2019 Binner, H.; Kamali, N.; Harding, M. and T. Sullivan"Assessment of the potential environmental impacts arising from mercury-free dental restorative materials." ENVIRON 2019, Carlow (2019).
2017 Sullivan, T., and F. Regan. "Marine diatom settlement on microtextured materials in static field trials." Journal of Materials Science 52.10 (2017): 5846-5856. [DOI] [Details]
2017 Sullivan, T.et al. (2017) 'Biofouling And Biofilm Prevention On Aquatic Sensors' In: P.S. Murthy (eds). Biofilms in Environment: Process Applications and their control. India: Narosa. [Details]
2016 Kommeren, S., T. Sullivan, and C. W. M. Bastiaansen. "Tunable surface topography in fluoropolymers using photo-embossing." RSC Advances 6.73 (2016): 69117-69123. [DOI][Details]
2015 Murphy, K., et al. "Data analysis from a low-cost optical sensor for continuous marine monitoring." Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 214 (2015): 211-217. [DOI] [Details]
2014 Sullivan, T., et al. "Characterization and anti-settlement aspects of surface micro-structures from Cancer pagurus." Bioinspiration & biomimetics 9.4 (2014): 046003. [DOI] [Details]
2014 Sullivan, T., et al. "Determination of spatial and temporal variability of pH and dissolved oxygen concentrations in a seasonally hypoxic semi-enclosed marine basin using continuous monitoring." Analytical Methods 6.15 (2014): 5489-5497. [DOI] [Details]
2013 Sullivan, T., et al. "High resolution monitoring of episodic stratification events in an enclosed marine system." Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 123 (2013): 26-33. [DOI] [Details]

Professional Activity

Association for Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Member
Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland (ESAI) Member and former Committee Member
Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) Member
Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Member

Research Grants

ProjectFunding BodyStart/End DatesAward
Flexible Environmental Monitoring Platforms: FLEXIMON (as collaborator) Marine Institute 01-APR-18 / 01-APR-19 €77,243.03
Less HG - Assessment of the environment and health impacts arising from mercury-free dental restorative materials (as collaborator) Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland) 01-OCT-18 / 01-OCT-20 €150,000.00
Macroinvertebrates as a novel biomonitor for nanoparticles in freshwater systems Irish Research Council / Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland) 01-OCT-18 / 30-SEP-22 €96,000.00


Other Links:



Email: timothy.sullivan@ucc.ie
Phone: +353 (0)21 490 4662

Dr Tim Sullivan (Lecturer)
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES),
University College Cork,
Distillery Fields Campus,
North Mall,
Cork T23 TK30,



Timothy Sullivan

Contact Details:


Head of Group & Lecturer in Environmental Science


BSc (Hons) Environmental Science; PhD

Research Area:

Environmental Science, Materials Science


Principal Investigator

Materials & Environmental Science Applications

Grúpa Taighde d'Ábhair & Feidhmeanna Eolaíocht Chomhshaoil

School of BEES, University College Cork, Cork Enterprise Centre, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, T23 TK30

Funding Sources