Global economic development and population growth, food production demands and growing generation of wastes all pose enormous challenges for waste management for most countries. Consequently, there is also a growing demand for new, and better, technologies for waste reduction and re-utilisation, along with resource recovery and bioenergy production.

Compared to other possible treatment routes, anaerobic digestion is proven as one of the most economical and effective technologies for waste treatment and valorisation.

The overall objective of the proposed research programme underpinning the M2ex Network is to understand, and manipulate, the interdependent physical, chemical and biological dynamics of trace metals in anaerobic biotechnologies and the associated ‘bioeconomy’. This research and the approaches used will be focused along a series of interconnected scales, from molecules to cells, to microbial communities and biofilms, to environmental technologies and to the whole environment and the bioeconomy.

A series of highly-integrated individual tasks, activities and Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) projects has been designed, and will be delivered through eight Work Packages (WPs 1-8) as outlined in this figure.

Each WP will include ESRs from across the Network recruited by the beneficiaries. The research work packages (WPs 2-6) are defined by different scales and are designed to dissect, and interlock, different disciplines and methodological approaches, and different critical aspects of the trace metal bioeconomy. WP 7 includes the Network-wide Training of the ESRs, through secondments and other collaborative linkages, providing distinct opportunities for complementarity and interdisciplinary training. WP 1 is the managing of the M2ex Network and WP 8 is related to the dissemination, exploitation and publich outreach of the hole network.