Published on 19/06/2024
Share this Article:
United Nations recognises bioenergy work of Aston University early career researcher
  • An Aston University visiting researcher has received a UN award for her work within the sustainability and renewable energy sector 
  • Czaneil Gomez is from, and is based in, the Philippines
  • She received the honour for her research conducted at Aston University’s Energy and Bioproducts Institute.

The United Nations has honoured an Aston University visiting researcher for her work within the sustainability and renewable energy sector.

Czaneil Gomez received the 2024 Youth Award from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations’ Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP). 

Czaneil is an early career researcher from the Philippines based at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

She received the honour for her research conducted at Aston University’s Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI), which is recognised globally for its expertise in the area of sustainability and bioenergy. During spring 2023 she conducted her research titled ’Harnessing Rice Straw to Empower Rice Farming Communities in the Philippines.” 

She was presented with her award by Maria Michela Morese, FAO senior natural resources officer and energy team leader on 17 June during GBEP’s 11th Bioenergy Week  in Rome. 

Czaneil said: “Receiving this award recognises my passion and dedication for finding sustainable approaches for rice farming communities in the Philippines. 

“My recent research visit to Aston University and working with world-leading experts in sustainable bioenergy was a great experience and has excelled my research skills and knowledge. Receiving the GBEP Youth Award is a big honour and made me realise that regardless of your background, as long as you keep moving forward, anything is possible. 

“I am very grateful to the people and institutions who supported me in this. I am now more inspired to continue exploring innovative solutions that promote a more sustainable world, believing that each of us has the power to make a significant impact.”

Czaneil was supervised by EBRI researchers Dr Mirjam Röder and Dr Katie Chong. Dr Röder said: “EBRI is committed to capacity building and support early career researchers. Czaneil’s GBEP Youth Award success is a fantastic achievement. It shows the importance of empowering future generations to develop skills and knowledge in the field of sustainability and renewable energy for local communities.

“Czaneil is a female engineer from a low-income background, and I have found working with her insightful and inspiring. The experience has emphasised that all ideas, perspectives and voices are relevant to find inclusive solutions in tackling climate change.”

This year’s Global Bioenergy Partnership Week focused on bioenergy within food production and private sector collaboration to improve sustainable production and use of bioenergy.

Tiziana Pirelli, GBEP secretariat coordinator, said: "Czaneil's work is a shining example of how multifunctional, integrated agrifood systems can benefit both the environment and farming communities. 

“Her innovative approach to harness rice straw for biogas demonstrates how sustainable bioeconomy supports rural livelihoods, enhances food and energy security and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. This is precisely the kind of innovation we need to achieve our climate and development goals.”

Photo caption: Josyline C. Javelosa (Agriculture Attaché and Deputy Permanent Representative to Rome-based Agencies of the United Nations), Tiziana Pirelli (Coordinator, Secretariat GBEP), Mirjam Röder, Czaneil Gomez, Michela Morese (Energy Team Leader and Senior Natural Resources Officer, FAO), Katie Chong

Notes to editors

About Aston University
For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.
Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.
Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming The Guardian University of the Year in 2020.
Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.
For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7825 342091 or email:


Sue Smith,
Head of Press and Communications


Sam Cook,
Press and Communications Manager


Nicola Jones,
Press and Communications Manager


Helen Tunnicliffe,
Press and Communications Manager


Alternatively, email