Cóilín is a scientific adviser to the Soil Association and to the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics. He has campaigned against the overuse of antibiotics in farming for over 15 years, and has co-authored a series of reports on antibiotic resistance and antibiotic residues that highlight the human-health impact of excessive antibiotic use in intensive livestock farming. This work aims to encourage a move to more responsible use of antibiotics in farming, through better regulation and improvements in production systems, which would also improve animal welfare.
He has an interest in all aspects of sustainability, and is a trustee of Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability. He studied mathematics and physics at the Universities of Brussels and Cambridge.