Bioeconomy Supply Chain Management

The successful management of biorefinery supply chains requires decisions on hierarchical processes across the full chain; from location of the biorefinery plant, resource allocation, to daily distribution of bio-feedstock and end products. Models based on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Operation Research methodologies are now being used for strategic, tactical and operational decisions. However, research on the design of supply chains for biorefineries-AD hybrids are lacking. Initially based in UCD under the supervision of Dr. F Murphy, this PhD project will analyse the role of reverse logistics as a critical enabler within the circular economy and will provide clear strategies for optimising reverse logistics processes so that they can be embedded within AgRefine’s bioeconomy model. The PhD student will develop a framework and model for Supply Chain Management defining the mechanisms of an efficient grass and seaweed-silage bio-feedstock and product management system, considering innovative aspects such as demand fluctuations, government incentives, and uncertainty and will test the developed model in an industry setting.

I am Mariana Cerca. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management from the University of São Paulo – Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, and a master’s degree in Integrated Natural Resource Management from the Humboldt University of Berlin.

I grew up in Brazil and developed early in my childhood a strong connection with nature, farming, as well as the importance of learning and education. This led me to study, volunteer, and work in different countries, including Brazil, Germany, Switzerland and now Ireland. Moreover, my interest for languages and the eager to contribute to a more sustainable future motivated me to seek experiences in public, private and non-profit organizations, with endeavours in the fields of waste management, renewable energy, agricultural value chains and risk transfer solutions.

My professional purpose is to contribute to more efficient, ethical, and sustainable supply chains. The research on biomass supply to next-generation biorefineries has much to add to this goal, as well as to the transition to a circular bioeconomy. That is what motivated me to pursue this PhD, also having the opportunity to work in collaboration with great minds, in a project with a strong link to practice and partners outside academia.

In my free time, I love being in nature or by the sea, hiking with friends, cooking, and reading biographies.

My favourite quote: “A person needs to travel to places s/he does not know, to be able to lose this arrogance which makes us see the world the way we wonder, and not simply the way it is or could be. That makes us teachers and experts of what we have never seen, when we should just be students and go see it” (Amyr Klink – Brazilian explorer, sailor and writer. From the book Endless Sea – free translation).