Helen has experience of designing business support programmes for Councils and Invest NI (Pathbreaking, Fired Up, Awakeability) business plans and funding applications for private and social enterprises (River Care, NW200, Cookstown 100, Railway Preservation Society) and a variety of research, appraisals and evaluations (Loughs Agency, Rural Development Programme, Councils). She was instrumental in securing funding for the project.
In recent years Helen has been working a lot with students at Queen's University, University of Ulster, St. Mary's College, Open University and Belfast Metropolitan College. This is through programmes like Belfast Enterprise Academy, Innovate Her and as Entrepreneur in Residence at QUB SU. Helen began as innovation broker on the project and remains a member of the operational group.
Mark is CEO of Ballinderry Rivers Trust and All-Ireland Director at The Rivers Trust. Mark has played a significant role in protecting and improving the river environment. As Chief Executive of Ballinderry Rivers Trust, a charity dedicated to the conservation, protection and enjoyment of the Ballinderry River, Lough Neagh and the loughs western shore streams covering some 1000km2 of mid-Ulster. Mark directs the Trust’s activities and projects which include catchment-based water quality and habitat restoration projects; conservation breeding programmes for trout, salmon, freshwater pearl mussel and white-clawed crayfish; community engagement in catchment planning and management; education and outreach and applied research in conservation biology and river ecology.
Led the agronomy research programme at the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland, later AFBI, 1977 to 2005, and then led the Environment and Renewable Energy Centre programme there 2006 to 2012.
Founder of Ballinderry Rivers Trust (formerly BREA), worked extensively with farms throughout the catchment to identify root causes of pollution and solutions. Pioneered new water quality improvement measures on farms.
Research career in agri-environment scheme management and monitoring, specialising in upland grasslands and agroforestry systems. Head of the Grassland and Plant Science Branch in AFBI from 2008-2018. Currently is an Hon Professor with QUB, and acts as a facilitator for an EFS (Higher) farmers Group with the Ulster Wildlife Trust.