The NGO UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has appointed two academics of the University of Southampton to lead a major programme tackling air pollution as Clean Air Champions.
The champions representing the University are Dr Jenny Beaverstock, Senior Collaboration Fellow, and Professor Stephen Holgate, MRC Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology. Alongside fellow champion Professor Martin Williams of King’s College London, they will gather the UK’s research on air quality to develop practical solutions to air pollution as part of the Clean Air programme.
In a joint statement, they said they were ‘delighted to be chosen as the UKRI Clean Air Champions’;
Recognising that atmospheric pollution in the UK is responsible for ~40,000 early deaths and costs of ~£20bn pa to health services and business, our role is to be thought leaders, flag bearers, and strategy owners for the new Clean Air programme.
The £19.6 million collaboration project, funded by the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), is looking to create practical solutions to tackle air pollution, aid policymakers and businesses to protect public health and work towards a cleaner economy. Multiple organisations are involved, including the UKRI and Met Office.
As well as the appointment of the Champions, other actions have been announced under the SPF Clean Air programme, including five new research projects funded by the UKRI.
These include the development of improved tools and technology to predict and measure emissions, investigations into the factors underlying exposure to pollution and disease, and a project inquiring into how policy changes may impact air quality.