SAQN funds new research into air quality

SAQN has funded four new Scoping Studies through the innovative online Collaboration Building Workshop. The workshop was the second run by the network, and aimed to develop new interdisciplinary collaborations between air quality scientists and researchers at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Participants came from a range of backgrounds, including particle physics, public health, social science, software engineering, modelling and many more.

Workshop participants celebrate
Workshop participants celebrate the closing session

The funded projects address the workshop question ‘ How might we respond collaboratively to societal air quality challenges using STFC capabilities to explore the potential of new research ideas?’. The projects focus on nanoparticles in the brain, Persistent Organic Particles (POPs), developing a next generation Delta sensor and biomass burning. Each project has been awarded £8,000. Further details of the Scoping Studies will be shared on the SAQN website, where blog posts and presentations from past Scoping Studies are currently available.

SAQN PI, Dr Sarah Moller said, “We are delighted to be funding these new studies. All of them are taking a first step towards tackling a major air quality research gap, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes. We are keen to support the Scoping Studies to develop their research idea and apply for future funding as a result of strong, productive collaborations.”

Funding Opportunity: Applications open for Collaboration Building Workshop 2021

14 – 25 June 2021, online

Application deadline: 30 April 2021

Expand your network, collaborate with researchers from different disciplines and take the opportunity to put your research ideas into practice using STFC capabilities. We are delighted to open applications for the next SAQN Collaboration Building Workshop. 

Following the success of our first workshop, this event will be held online, making it accessible to a wider range of participants and reducing our air pollution and carbon footprint. We encourage applications from a broad interdisciplinary community and from diverse backgrounds.

The facilitated process focusses on collaboration, not competition. Past participants have said that they found the format even better than an in person event, as they had time to develop relationships with other participants and to let their research ideas evolve.

Scoping Study funds will be awarded to successful projects at the end of the workshop. There are up to five pots of maximum £8,000 to be awarded to innovative proposals for research with STFC colleagues.

Full details of the workshop, including a detailed agenda, introductory video and application form are available on the SAQN web page.

Collaboration Building Workshop to be held online

SAQN’s Collaboration Building Workshop, which was postponed due to lockdown, will now take place online. With so much uncertainty around holding in-person events, we decided that a virtual event would be the best option.

The workshop will be run by a professional facilitator, Christine Bell from the Centre for Facilitation. Meet Christine and hear more about the workshop format in this introductory video:

Read the information sheet, selection criteria and apply to attend the workshop on our events page.

Funding Opportunities for Air Quality & COVID-19

Below are some of the current funding opportunities available to researchers looking at the relationship between Air Quality and COVID-19. If you are aware of other relevant funding calls, please email

NERC CV-19 public engagement

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is inviting proposals for public engagement with environmental science which understand, address or mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. NERC intends to fund projects costing up to £10,000 each with a total budget of £50,000. Successful projects must be completed by 31 March 2021. The closing date for proposals is 16:00 Hours (BST) Wednesday 13 May, 2020 via email. Full details of the funding call.

UKRI open call

This is an open call and proposals can be in any part of the UKRI remit. For those whose proposal is at least 50% NERC, welcome to contact NERC’s healthy Environment team. A representative can talk through with a prospective applicant the proposal idea– please email – NERC are always happy for the community to get in touch.

Information on the UKRI open call can be found the UKRI website.


For proposals around CV-19 that have a strong health element, there is also an MRC/DHSC rolling call open, details of the call can be found on the MRC website.

SAQN Collaboration Building Workshop

Applications are open for the SAQN Collaboration Building Workshop on 2-3 November 2020. This workshop will enable researchers to meet with and explore research opportunities with colleagues in STFC, and apply for SAQN funding for Scoping Studies.

Clean Air Programme

More info on Clean air can be found on the website.

NERC are anticipating opening another funding opportunity for research and innovation consortia to generate new knowledge and tools to influence policy and regulation. NERC ran scoping workshops in January and February around a UKRI Consortia call. The read-out report of this workshop will be published by NERC.

Information on the Strategic Priorities Fund.


The Clean Air Champions act as thought leaders, flag bearers, and strategy owners for the new UKRI Clean Air programme. They bring together outstanding researchers in atmospheric, medical and social science in joined-up thinking and ground-breaking solutions to help create a sound health-based policy, innovative business and trusted public information for the benefit of current and future generations.

This video provides an overview from NERC on the two previous waves and aims of the programme.