Wave 2 support for SPF Clean Air Champions - "Addressing the Challenge of the Indoor/Outdoor Continuum"

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Clinical and Experimental Sciences


Air pollution has long been known to damage health and the environment, with recent research adding considerably to the knowledge base on how this occurs and why. However, air pollution can be thought of as a wicked problem where no single solution will create the desired reductions necessary to meet targets based on health set by the WHO. The Clean Air Champion(s) roles are to help drive forward new research into air pollution in relation to adverse health and effects on the wider environment. At present we know that air pollution of all types, and from multiple sources, causes damage to living cells whether human, animals or plants. However, understanding the total exposure to air pollutants and mixtures across 24 hours and over much longer periods in real world settings is largely unknown. The advent of new technologies in the field for personal and more localised pollution monitoring coupled with improved markers of damage and worsening of diseases will greatly strengthen the information required to introduce control of emissions and mitigation strategies for the benefit of society. Technologies that can be sustaining or disruptive also have a key role in cleaning up the air around us. The ability to create predictive models of adverse air pollution outcomes in relation to climate conditions, urban settings and indoors is an important part of this Air Pollution Solutions programme, but any such model requires validation with real world observations. There is an urgent need to break down traditional barriers between physical, biological and health scientists on the one hand and the research community, industry and local and central government to translate new knowledge on pollution to benefit the health and wealth of society. To achieve these aims, this proposal for a Clean Air Champion(s) lays out a strategy and a delivery plan to strengthen the field and through interdisciplinary working create more joined up working that will translate into benefits to the public at large and create new opportunities for industry as this and other countries get closer to replacing pollution emitting sources by cleaner technologies. A further role for the Champion(s) is to promote greater public awareness and understanding of the adverse effect of air pollution and to offer ways forward where everyone can play their role in driving down pollution levels. The aims of the Clean Air Champion(s) will be: 1) Identify and then undertake a mapping exercise to discern the goals and problems to be solved; 2) Unify key researchers and stakeholders around visionary missions using a range of tools to engage the different communities; 3) Uncover and challenge barriers/obstacles and produce workable interdisciplinary solutions; 4) Create new ideas leading to new interventions to test; 5) Translate these ideas into practical activities targeted at the right audiences; 6) Develop a professional and public communications strategy using the best available evidence and convert these into positive messaging.
We see a particular role for early career researchers throughout the whole programme since they will become the leaders who will ensure novel and ambitious goals are set and that the programme becomes sustainable. Having laid the ground for these interactions in Wave1, in Wave 2 with realisation of research outputs and impacts, we will catalyse the interactions between the PIs and their research teams with stakeholders, enabling translation of research to improve air quality and improve the health of the public. We will also place strong emphasis on communication to different stakeholders and the wider public. People will change their behaviour only if they see the new behaviour as easy, rewarding, empowering and normal. Although the work will be coordinated from Southampton, and ICL, London, the activity has to be national in character and sufficiently ambitious to drive change and create a legacy beyond the SPF both nationally and internationally.


10 25 50
Description Influenced training of practitioners or researchers - Increased communication between UKRI and Met Office funded researchers (2022-3)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The Clean Air SPF is now beginning to deliver real improvements in the modelling of air quality, its local and national monitoring and a more engaged community overall to improve the air we breath outdoors Engagement with Health and Environmental communities has greatly enhanced air quality awareness with the beginnings of behavior change e.g. low emission zones and the ULEZ in London.
URL https://www.ukcleanair.org/
Description Wave 2 support for SPF Clean Air Champions - "Addressing the Challenge of the Indoor/Outdoor Continuum"
Amount £761,400 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/X004236/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2022 
End 08/2025
Title Working wit the Met Office new models for predicting air pollution at a more local level is now being delivered along with hyperlocal air pollutant monitoring. 
Description Several new tools are being rolled out by the Met Office both on emission inventories and more granular urban air pollution monitoring (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/approach/collaboration/spf/spf-clean-air and https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/approach/collaboration/spf/clean-air-news#:~:text=Clean%20Air%20Day%2017%20June,work%20towards%20a%20cleaner%20economy). 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Local authorities are now beginning to use the more refined modelling to enhance their information on air pollution in their urban environments and this is helping to reduce emissions through local policy changes relating to transport and urban planning. 
URL https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/approach/collaboration/spf/clean-air-news#:~:text=Clean%20Air%...
Title Improved air pollution modelling in urban environments 
Description This is being rolled out by the Met Office as a series of new improved models to prdict air pollution. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The roll-out is just beginning but details are available in the Met Office updates e.g. (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/approach/collaboration/spf/clean-air-news#:~:text=Clean%20Air%20Day%2017%20June,work%20towards%20a%20cleaner%20economy). 
URL https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/approach/collaboration/spf/clean-air-news#:~:text=Clean%20Air%...
Description Clean Air Champions Wave 2 
Organisation United Kingdom Research and Innovation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Our role is to enhance interconnectivity between the SPF Wave 2 researchers (networks, projects and consortia) with stakeholders. The grant started in July 2022 so this process is still being established.
Collaborator Contribution The UKRI and Met Office researchers are still pursuing their original goals. The first real output will be a Clean Air Networks conference in Birmingham in July 5th and 6th, 2023 The programme has been agreed and the Networks already heavily engaged in putting this event together with the Champions.
Impact None yet but connections with stakeholders will be a strong output. Stakeholders maps of outputs and impacts are being assembled in collaboration with UKRI (https://www.ukri.org/what-we-offer/browse-our-areas-of-investment-and-support/clean-air/).
Start Year 2022
Title Portable and affordable air quality monitors have been deployed in cities across the the UK 
Description Portable monitors are being tested at the Clean Air Supersite in Birmingham Sensors have also been deployed in London (Breathe London) and in Manchester (Schools). Sensors are also being developed for use indoors (https://www.ukri.org/blog/developing-innovations-to-monitor-air-pollution-in-homes/). This type of local air pollution monitoring is becoming increasingly use to inform stakeholders what they are exposed to especially identifying hot spots. 
Type Of Technology Detection Devices 
Year Produced 2022 
Impact Great public information and awareness of the harms of air pollution. Reducing vehicle idling near schools, changing the public transport fleets to less or non polluting vehicles are two examples. 
URL https://cordis.europa.eu/article/id/82940-innovative-assessment-tool-for-urban-air-quality
Description Multiple engagement activities with industry, professional societies and organisations e.g. medical royal colleges, medical charities, All Party Parliamentary Groups, DEFRA. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Our role as Clean Air Champions is to establish links with multiple organisations to promote the outcomes of the Clean Air SPF. We work closely with NERC and the Met Office on these activities that form the core of our outreach.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022,2023
URL https://www.ukcleanair.org/