University of Warwick: Cross-Disciplinary Research for Discovery Science

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Research Support Services


Warwick will utilise this funding to support cross-disciplinary collaborations in environmental science.


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Description The University of Warwick used the fund to support 11 interdisciplinary collaborations spanning 9 different departments at the University. All collaborations involved at least two different disciplines and a range of activities which are summarised below.

1. Development of an isotopic fingerprinting technique for distinguishing N2O sources within the context of a constructed wetland. Funding enabled the team to develop the method and identify a suitable wetland site for future study (Life Sciences/Engineering)
2. A series of microfluidic experiments to investigate the effect of hydrodynamics on solute transport. The outcomes provided a fundamental understanding of the effect of non-linearity of flow field in river sediment on solute (pollution) transport in river sediments (Engineering/Physics)
3. A series of workshops to connect researchers working in the area of biodiversity, and establish a Biodiversity network bringing together biologists, social scientists and local government. (Life Sciences/Engineering/Global Sustainable Development/Sociology)
4. Development of a new catalytic method using molecular rhodium-based catalysts for the decomposition of N2O into N2 and O2. (Chemistry/Life Sciences)
5. Developing new understanding of heterogeneous ice nucleation in plants. Experiments established the ice nucleation and ice shaping ability of a diverse range of plant polysaccharides. (Chemistry/Life Science)
6. Creation of a new library of polymer nanoparticles to better understand their impact at the plant/soil/microbe interface (Chemistry/Life Sciences)
7. Establishment of a network of academics and agencies interested in the impacts highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on wild seabirds and development of a new mathematical model for monitoring HPAI spread in sea birds (Life Sciences/Maths)
8. Biomarker discovery for Ash Dieback diagnostics: building on previous metabolite profiling data, this project involved developing and validating a new monitoring method which will enable better understanding of which trees are more susceptible to disease (Life Sciences/Chemistry)
9. Modelling uncertainty in space weather: collaboration between statistician and space weather experts in physics to better understand the challenges of uncertainty in space weather and potential for application of statistical models in this field (Statistics/Physics)
10. Simultaneous localization and mapping of transport of solute and microplastics in Constructed Wetlands and Waste Stabilization Ponds in Ingoldisthorpe Wetland, Norfolk (Engineering/Life Sciences)
11. Creation of new Warwick Aqueous Monitoring Station (WAMOS) which will collect longitudinal data on combined biological and chemical parameters from aquatic environments (Life Sciences/Medicine/Engineering)
Exploitation Route - Development of a new isotope fingerprinting technique for understanding nitrogen sources in constructed wetlands
- Development of a library of polymer nanoparticles including data on their behaviour and uptake in plants and subsequent impact on plant stress.
- Data on wild bird colony counts providing preliminary data for a grant assessing HPAI impacts & development of a mathematical model of HPAI spread
- The work on hydrodynamics has led to the writing of a research article, which is currently being reviewed by co-authors with the aim of submitting it to Physical Review E. Further research papers are planned.
- The work on ice nucleation has provided key data for a paper which is being prepared for submission to an interdisciplinary journal, detailing the discovery of the ice nucleating ability of ubiquitous plant polysaccharides. This will be further developed for submission to the UKRI cross-council responsive mode scheme
- Establishment of new networks including:
o A new biodiversity network involving academics from the University of Warwick, Coventry University, Coventry and Warwickshire Councils
o A collaborator network of academics and agencies interested in the impacts highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on wild seabirds
- Funding has been secured from Coventry City Council for a pilot scale study to investigate the potential use of eDNA approaches to monitor urban biodiversity
- Follow on discussions are being held with Coventry City Council to research social dimensions of urban park use & the impact of biodiversity enhancement schemes
- Future work is planned with the Living Ash Project and DEFRA to further sample ash trees and undertake metabolite profiling work
- The N2O catalysis project has experienced some issues with sample contamination and are developing a bespoke vacuum/gas manifold to avoid this issue, before continuing with catalytic testing
- A short report was produced outlining new approaches to address climate modelling challenges relating to space weather, which is being developed for future work.
- Future constructed wetland studies are planned to understand how vegetation impacts water quality
- Data from the aqueous monitoring station in the process of being analysed. Analysis will inform future plans and grant applications focusing on environmental responses of biological communities in aquatic systems. The team have initiated discussions for similar longitudinal sampling and monitoring projects in several other locations, in particular Venice and Mallorca.
Sectors Aerospace

Defence and Marine


Food and Drink






including Industrial Biotechology

Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology


Description HPAI surveillance in wild seabirds 
Organisation British Trust for Ornithology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Mathematical model development - working towards a model that can be used to guide surveillance planning.
Collaborator Contribution Data, expert opinion for sampling and biology.
Impact N/A
Start Year 2023