News

PHE Air Quality Conference: 14 – 15 October

Public Health England have opened registration for the 2020 ‘Annual UK Review Meeting on Outdoor and Indoor Air Pollution Research’ and ‘Air Quality and Public Health Stakeholder Seminar’. The meetings will take place on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th October 2020 respectively using Microsoft Teams Live Events.

Full details of the programme and registration information can be found on the links below.

Stakeholder seminar: www.phe-events.org.uk/aqph2020

Annual meeting: www.phe-events.org.uk/airpollution20

Air Quality & COVID-19: Report Published

We are pleased to announce the publication of the report from our May event, ‘Air Quality & COVID-19’. This report is jointly authored by SAQN, UKIEG and AQNUK as convenors of the workshop. In addition to the Executive Summary and Calls to Action, the report contains summaries of the speaker presentations, the workshop methodology, and information on ways to connect with STFC.

We are keen to encourage further interdisciplinary work with others interested in air quality challenges, and we invite the community to contact us with their responses to the Calls to Action so that we can continue the conversation. SAQN will be doing further work to identify what work is happening in the different research areas, and finding areas where STFC capabilities can contribute to the research.

Our upcoming Collaboration Building Workshop offers an opportunity to connect with researchers in different disciplines and apply for Scoping Study funding for new work using STFC capabilities. Our starting points for discussion will be the themes identified at our launch event and the calls to action from this report, as the most pressing challenges in air quality at the moment. We welcome applications from a wide range of disciplines.

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.

Job opportunity: PHE Environmental Public Health Scientist (Air Pollution)

Public Health England are recruiting an Environmental Public Health Scientist to join the Air Quality and Public Health Group. The role will support the objectives of PHE’s Cleaner Air Programme in support of national and local government aims to reduce the health effects of air pollution. They will provide expert advice on the human health effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution and the health impacts of interventions aiming to improve air quality. The post holder will especially contribute to building capacity on indoor air quality.

This post will, initially, primarily contribute to the research project CUSSH (“Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health”) on the healthy sustainable development of cities, which is funded by The Wellcome Trust and coordinated by University College London (UCL). 

PHE are looking for an enthusiastic and self-motivated scientist with a PhD or equivalent experience in environmental science, air pollution or an allied subject. Applicants should be excellent communicators with experience in training course design and delivery.

Application closing date: 7th September 2020

Virtual workshop, 29 September 2020: Satellite measurements of air quality and greenhouse gases: application to regulatory activities

The Environment Agency and National Centre for Earth Observation are currently delivering a JNCC Copernicus User Uptake project investigating whether the Sentinel-5P TROPOMI instrument can be used to detect methane from regulated sources. This finding of this, and other current EA work on the measurement of air pollutants by satellites, will be shared at an online workshop on 29 September 2020 (0930 – 1630). The workshop will also be an opportunity to gather and share best practice on the use of Sentinel-5P TROPOMI and other satellite air quality (AQ) and greenhouse gas (GHG) data, with a focus on regulatory activities. The event is aimed at regulators and other potential end-users of satellite data.

The content of the day will include:

  • An introduction to the TROPOMI AQ and GHG products
  • Signposting of future developments in AQ and GHG satellite capabilities
  • The Environment Agency’s experiences in developing a capability to use TROPOMI data
  • Results of a number of case studies using TROPOMI and other satellite AQ and GHG measurements
  • Opportunities for two-way discussion with an expert panel

The workshop will contain presentations from the European Space Agency, The National Centre for Earth Observation, the Environment Agency & UCL.

Registration and participation is free but you need to register via our EventBrite page to attend. The registration page contains a draft agenda for the workshop.

This workshop is an output from the Copernicus User Uptake project. which is financed by the European Commission under the FPA no.: 275/G/GRO/COPE/17/10042

Air Quality Hub – Call for Case Studies

The Air Quality Hub is a new, online knowledge sharing resource for those working in the field of local air quality management. Focused on information exchange between local authority professionals, the Hub features a range of content areas related to strategy measures that local authorities can adopt, as well as more specific practitioner advice notes that focus on various aspects of air quality management planning, monitoring and enforcement. The Hub also includes a growing library of relevant case studies and a forum for direct peer to peer communication.

Academics and public sector professionals with a legitimate interest in air quality management can also access the site and forum, subject to specific approval. The Air Quality Hub is not currently available for commercial organisations.

The Low Emission Partnership, which developed and operates the Hub, is seeking case studies for a number of strategy areas that are currently under-represented on the Hub:

  • Development planning
  • Commercial and domestic heat and power
  • Industrial and commercial regulatory interventions
  • Agricultural emissions
  • Coach initiatives
  • Rail initiatives
  • Walking initiatives (encouraging active travel)

If you are interested in submitting a case study relating to any of these areas for publication on the Hub, please contact admin@airqualityhub.co.uk for more information.

Air Quality & COVID-19: Knowledge Gaps and Calls to Action

Following the successful online workshop held on 20th May, we are pleased to announce the publication of the Executive Summary. This document identifies the key knowledge gaps relating to air quality and COVID-19 and recommends action to researchers and research funding organisations. The full report from the workshop will be published in the coming weeks. The three organising networks (AQNUK, SAQN, UKIEG) will be working with network members to act on these knowledge gaps and seek to contribute to the research in these areas.

It is clear that further interdisciplinary work is needed to tackle the questions raised at the workshop, and that more research is needed, particularly relating to indoor and outdoor air quality and the interaction between them. This is particularly timely as we begin to emerge from lockdown and consider how COVID-19 transmission and effects may change as we approach the autumn.

We encourage our network members and event attendees to share these findings widely and welcome suggestions and ideas as to how the SAQN can continue to support discussion and action in this space. Following the announcement of the UKRI SPF Clean Air networks, we will be exploring ways of collaborating with these networks to address these research questions in the coming months.

Further details of the event, including the agenda and recordings of some of the presentations can be found on our event page.

Research Partner required for CV-19 virus detection technology

VN Aerotoxic Detection Solutions are currently developing a sensor for the detection of poisonous compounds inside aircraft cabins, and they are putting together an independent project to adapt the technology so that it will be able to detect Covid-19 and other viruses non-invasively, and in real-time.

The company is looking for research partners who could help with source the virus, facilities or funding to enable the research and development of the technology and build a proof of concept as a technology validation.

Further information about the project is available to download in the following documents:

For further information and to discuss getting involved, please contact Mark Gilmore on mgilmore@vn-ads.co.uk.

LIDA Data Scientist Internships

The Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) is now inviting applications for the fifth cohort of its leading Data Scientist Internship Programme. Paid internships are available for a fixed term period of 12 months, commencing end September 2020, to help drive research activity across each of LIDA’s constituent areas: health informatics, urban analytics, statistical and mathematical methods, and visualisation and immersive technologies.

LIDA are looking for graduates from a wide range of backgrounds who have a keen interest in using data and statistical and predictive techniques to answer real-world questions. As an intern, you will have the opportunity to own delivery of data science projects and get hands-on technical experience using real data. You will also be able to build your capacity in advanced analytics through the benefit of supervisor mentorship as well as training in programming, visualisation and statistical analysis.

Internship start date: 28th Sept 2020

Length of internship: 12 months fixed term contract, full time (35 hrs per week)

Salary: Grade 5 sp17: £23,067 pa

Closing date for applications: Friday 17th July 2020

Interviews: will be held remotely in August

For more information on the Programme, and to see information about the current cohort of interns and the kinds of projects on which they are working, please visit the LIDA website.

APPLY ONLINE for an internship by visiting the University of Leeds jobs site (job number PSLDA1000).

Please contact Kylie Norman, Programme Co-ordinator, or lida@leeds.ac.uk if you have any questions.

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 fleur.hughes@york.ac.uk

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 atmospheric@nerc.ukri.org – NERC are always happy for the community to get in touch.

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

MRC/DHSC call

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.

Champions

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.