Development & Alumni Relations Office 



CATAGEN’S DR JONATHAN STEWART – QUEEN’S 2010 & 2014 ENGINEERING GRADUATE – WINS £1.25M FUTURE LEADERS FELLOWSHIP   Dr Jonathan Stewart in blue shirt and jacket pictured in office

17 October 2020

Dr Jonathan Stewart, a rising research star of CATAGEN, is a recipient of the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship Award with funding of £1.25 million over a 4 year period to develop business leadership skills and enable cutting edge research.

The Fellowship recognises innovation excellence and provides longer term support for ambitious projects.

Having joined emissions specialists CATAGEN in 2014 and now Advanced Technical Lead, Dr Stewart earned his PhD in Automotive Catalysis from Queen’s in 2014, having graduated in 2010 with a BEng in Mechanical Engineering. 

Belfast based CATAGEN are already successfully delivering unrivalled emission data to many global automotive brands and were recognised by Deloitte Fast 50 as the second fastest growing technology firm on the island of Ireland.

Their technology is a solution to reduce tailpipe emissions, however this award will provide a vital stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of zero impact vehicle emissions in cities on a worldwide basis.

With air quality and climate change the most pressing environmental challenges of our time, it is critical there are real strategies and solutions.

Commenting on receipt of the Fellowship, Dr Stewart said:

“Improving air quality is universal, it’s for everyone.”

Part of his compelling pitch was his own personal connection as he suffers from asthma and understands how air pollution can affect people’s health.

“I have always loved cars. Since I was a child I have been fascinated by how a car works, its performance and speed. While studying emission control technologies, there came a point where I realised the impact of this applied research. Alongside my love of automotive there comes the obvious harmful pollutants from exhausts which are damaging to our health and the environment.

Now, being part of something truly pioneering at CATAGEN means being an advocate for clean air technology.”

The award will enable ground-breaking research in the virtual development of emissions control system to create an accelerated roadmap for improved air quality and future decarbonisation. This will have positive economic, environmental and societal impact.

Alongside innovative research, this is an amazing opportunity to develop vital leadership skills that will equip Dr Stewart to be a business leader at the forefront of the mobility sector globally.

He added: “My ambition is to lead a future team of interdisciplinary specialists, to take our technology and talent forward with the clear purpose of cleaning and decarbonising the air of the future.”

Lorraine Acheson, Manager for Northern Ireland, Innovate UK, UKRI said:

“I’m delighted that Jonathan Stewart has been awarded this prestigious Fellowship. Not only is CATAGEN the first business to win this award in Northern Ireland but this pivotal research will be significant in growing the green economy and supporting the UK’s net zero ambitions.” 

Belfast-based CATAGEN is a Queen’s spinout company from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, co-founded in 2009 by Dr Andrew Woods. Chief Executive Officer, Dr Woods has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University (2010), and followed this with a research fellowship at the University developing catalyst testing equipment.

For further information on CATAGEN visit the company website.

Two Queen’s academics were also awarded UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships this week.

To submit graduate news items, or for general enquiries about this story, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen's University Belfast or telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

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