Queen's University Belfast
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

The Food Fortress- From A Crisis to The Formation of An Innovative Food Quality Assurance Scheme

14th Feb, 2022
The 2008 dioxin crisis, in which Irish pork was contaminated through their feed with this highly toxic chemical, resulted in approximately 30,000 tonnes of pig meat product being recalled and destroyed.

The contamination was eventually detected by the national monitoring program leading to multiple farm closures, major animal welfare issues, and a global recall of Irish pork, resulting in the loss of an estimated 1,800 jobs. The incident was estimated to have cost the economy of island of Ireland over EUR120,000,000.

Professor Chris Elliott and his team at Queen’s were approached by the feed sector to identify ways of preventing the occurrence of such catastrophic feed-related contamination in the future.


Queen’s University leads an intensive research programme to develop, validate and implement innovative techniques to detect and monitor a broad spectrum of feed-related contaminants, which when incorporated within a risk-based sampling approach, providing a supply chain-wide quality assurance scheme.
The ‘Food Fortress’ scheme was launched by Queen’s as a pilot in 2014 with 19 large animal feed companies involved.

Read more here about how The Food Fortress scheme increased the level of testing for all high-risk chemical contaminants by over 500% without any additional industrial costs.

Posted 14th Feb, 2022
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29th Mar, 2022

The Impact of The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT)

The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) is a national cybersecurity research institute based at Queen’s emphasising research excellence combined with a unique model for, and focus on, commercialisation and innovation.
CSIT plays a key role in Northern Ireland’s cybersecurity ecosystem through the development of incubator programmes, start-ups and attracting foreign direct investment which had led to the creation of approximately 1600 jobs in this sector.
CSIT's mission is to produce significant high-quality impactful research in four key research areas:
- Secure connected services
- Networked security systems
- Industrial control systems
- Security intelligence
CSIT couples major research breakthroughs in the field of secure information technologies with a unique model of innovation and commercialisation to drive economic and societal impact. Cyber security challenges have grown exponentially in the last decade. A safe and secure cyberspace is fundamental to making the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online.
Industry engagement is at the heart of CSIT. Its unique membership model has seen the development of longstanding advisory and industrial collaborations with global partners including Altera, Allstate, BAE Systems, Cisco, Citi, Direct Line Group, First Derivatives, IBM, Infosys, Intel, McAfee, Roke, Seagate and Thales. This unique Open Innovation model allows research to translate to industry in an agile way, ensuring demonstrable technology is in the hands of end users quickly.
11th Mar, 2022

Transforming the Lives of People with Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers from Queen’s have transformed the lives of people with Cystic Fibrosis by leading on the clinical development of treatments that address the underlying genetic disorder.
Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive, life-limiting genetic disease that causes severe respiratory and digestive problems as well as other complications such as infections and diabetes.
There are over 80,000 people living with Cystic Fibrosis globally, including 10,500 in the UK accounting for 9,500 hospital admissions and over 100,000 bed days per year.
The condition is caused by a mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene which is responsible for the regulation of salt and water levels in the body. The mutations can lead to the build-up of thick mucus in the lungs, digestive tract and other parts of the body causing persistent chest infections, resulting in lung damage and an early death.
Queen’s University’s Cystic Fibrosis research team is recognised as world leading, having worked for over 12 years supporting the development of drugs that improve the function of CTFR. during the last decade, Queen’s University Belfast has been at the forefront of major advancements in drugs targeting the underlying genetic deficit.
This work included the development of clinical trial protocols, and inclusion of key outcome measures such as; lung function (FEV1), pulmonary exacerbation rate, and Quality of Life (QoL) tools for use in clinical trials of new therapeutics.
Extensive clinical trial experience coupled with a Clinical Trial Network infrastructure established by Queen’s and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, resulted in Queen’s playing a pivotal role in a drug development programme working alongside Vertex Pharmaceuticals to deliver trials for single, double and triple therapies in Cystic Fibrosis.
1. There are over 80,000 people living with Cystic Fibrosis globally, including 10,500 in the UK - accounting for 9,500 hospital admissions and over 100,000 bed days per year.
2 The most recent trials successfully demonstrated that a combination of drugs can treat up to 90% of people with Cystic Fibrosis by addressing the underlying cause of their disease.
14th Feb, 2022

Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland

Researchers within Queen’s University Belfast have had a profound, sustained and multi-layered impact upon the legal, policy and public understanding of dealing with the legacy of the Northern Ireland conflict.
Researchers at Queen’s produced a significant body of research in transitional justice, the interdisciplinary field that addresses how societies deal with legacies of violence and human rights abuses. Their research has explored key themes including how to effect change in transitional justice through expert mobilisation ‘from below’, how to encourage effective truth recovery through amnesties, immunity and sentence reduction and the value added of oral history to reconciliation.
The research team’s work has directly influenced the recent debates on legacy.
The team’s local and international research on amnesties, truth recovery, and the value-added of oral history to transitional justice has directly influenced efforts to deal with the past in Northern Ireland since 2014.
Working in partnership with the Belfast based human rights NGO, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), researchers have produced a substantial body of policy-focused research which has directly impacted political negotiations in Northern Ireland, UK draft legislation, and the recent deliberations of parliamentary select committees in the UK on legacy in Northern Ireland.
Key provisions of the government’s Draft Northern Ireland Stormont House Agreement Bill 2018 were directly influenced by the research team’s ‘Model Bill’.
14th Feb, 2022

Towards Zero Emission Public Buses

Researchers from Queen’s, in collaboration with Wrightbus have developed best-in-class low and zero emissions technologies playing a key role in decarbonising UK and international public transport.
The UK Government’s “Road to Zero” strategy laid out its ambition for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040, as well as schemes to encourage low emission public transport. Buses play a vital role in reducing emissions; one double-decker bus can potentially replace 75 cars. In inner cities, the stop/start conditions and slower speeds mean that older diesel vehicles in particular can emit significant levels of local pollutants.
Hybrid electric vehicle architectures are key in this transition to ultra-low and ultimately zero-emissions solutions.
In collaboration with Wrightbus, Queen’s University developed state-of-the-art system modeling approaches for hybrid vehicles on the development of the New Bus for London powertrain. The success of the London Bus project led directly to the £3,200,000 Innovate UK funded project “Next Generation Hybrid Bus” (NextGenHEV)