New regional champions to help improve air quality across UK

Late afternoon sun through the steam from the cooling towers of a power station in Leicestershire

UKRI and the Met Office have appointed four regional champions to support the work of the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) Clean Air Programme.

The four new regional Clean Air Champions will join the existing national Clean Air Champions in supporting the Clean Air Programme.

The programme is a £42.5 million investment that supports high quality research and innovation to:

  • develop practical solutions for today’s air quality issues
  • equip the UK to proactively tackle future air quality challenges.

Collaboration and impact

The champions will act as the central point for air quality research in their region:

  • Midlands to north of England
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland.

They will work to increase collaboration and impact across and beyond the programme.

About the regional champions

The new regional champions are:

Dr Suzanne Bartington (Midlands to north of England)

Suzanne Bartington

Suzanne Bartington

Suzanne is a clinical research fellow at the University of Birmingham.

She has expertise in public health, with research interests on the health effects of air pollution and environmental public policy formulation and evaluation.

She is public health lead for the West Midlands Air Quality Improvement Programme (University of Birmingham), applying environmental science expertise to support the West Midlands:

  • air quality
  • health
  • economic benefits.

She is passionate about public engagement and communication and a strong believer in translating academic knowledge to diverse audiences.

Find out more about Suzanne on the University of Birmingham website.

Dr Heather Price (Scotland)

Heather Price

Heather Price

Heather is a lecturer, based at the University of Stirling, in environmental geography.

She has significant experience working on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research projects including:

The key aim of her research is to find creative, acceptable, and future-proofed solutions to the ‘wicked’ problem of air pollution.

Find out more about Heather on the University of Stirling website.

Professor Paul Lewis (Wales)

Paul Lewis

Paul Lewis

Paul is Professor Emeritus at Swansea University Medical School with a research background in the environmental impacts on respiratory health.

He is an expert member on the Welsh Government Clean Air Advisory Panel, helping advise on fine-particulate targets in readiness for a new Clean Air Act in Wales.

He is also a member of:

  • Wales Air Quality Direction Independent Review Panel
  • Domestic Solid Fuel Burning in Wales, Task and Finish Group.

Find out more about Paul on the Swansea University website.

Dr Neil Rowland (Northern Ireland)

Neil Rowland

Neil is a Research Fellow based at the Management School, Queen’s University Belfast.

An applied economist with a background in economics and geography, he is part of the Administrative Data Research Northern Ireland Environmental Health Research Group.

As part of a team Neil is carrying out research to understand the health and mortality impacts of outdoor air pollution in Northern Ireland using a variety of linked datasets.

An important element of this work is communication. Bringing research findings to policymakers and the wider public to inform strategies for improving air quality and to raise awareness of its health impacts.

Find out more about Neil on the Queen’s University Belfast website.

Engaging with researchers

The regional champions will engage with researchers funded by the Clean Air Programme to explore ways of promoting knowledge exchange with relevant research users such as:

  • local businesses
  • industry
  • health professionals
  • local authorities
  • the public.

They’ll also gather intelligence on new local research, policy, and industry developments and contribute new ideas to enhance the impact of the programme.

In a joint statement, the Clean Air Champions said:

Having this wonderful cadre of high-quality researchers from different backgrounds representing the four nations in the UK is amazing. Each of them brings something unique to the Clean Air SPF.

They will greatly enhance the Clean Air Champions role in our joint mission to use the best research to clean up the air we all breathe.

Top image: Credit: SteveAllenPhoto / GettyImages

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