Clean Air: Analysis & Solutions
The Clean Air: Analysis & Solutions programme will support multidisciplinary research and innovation to stimulate practical and usable solutions for clean air through predictive understanding of future air quality challenges, a systems approach to analysis, new technologies, and innovative policy and practice interventions to benefit vulnerable groups, improve public health and support clean growth.
The funding is part of the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), delivered by the UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) to drive an increase in high quality multi- and interdisciplinary research and innovation. It will ensure that UKRI's investment links up effectively with government research priorities and opportunities. The programme is a £19·6 million collaboration led by NERC and the Met Office, with the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), Innovate UK, the Medical Research Council (MRC), the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Defra.
Atmospheric pollution in the UK is responsible for approximately 40,000 early deaths and has a cost of around £20 billion to health services and business, per year. The UK is entering a transformative period in air quality, as transport, heating, energy, solvent use and agricultural emissions change. Most of the 'easy wins' to reduce particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, ammonia and nitrogen oxides have already been implemented in the UK. Future improvements will require innovative solutions underpinned by new research to protect the health of society, whilst pursuing clean growth and increasing national productivity.
The vision of the Clean Air programme is a coordinated landscape of research and innovation co-designed with users to develop robust solutions that reduce emissions and impacts of atmospheric pollution. The evolving nature of the air quality challenge, and lack of cohesion in the research and user community, is limiting both research and innovation developments and policy benefits. Consequently, stakeholders are faced with multiple evidence streams leading to inconsistent analysis and inefficient application of new science to support policy and action. To address these challenges, the programme will support a multidisciplinary portfolio of investment.
The objectives of the SPF Clean Air programme are to:
- drive forward new multidisciplinary research and innovation
- leverage existing UK investments and enable a challenge-focused multidisciplinary community to work together
- inform implementation of the UK government's Clean Air Strategy
- develop new solutions to reduce emissions of atmospheric pollution and protect public health, whilst avoiding perverse consequences
- present information to stakeholders and the public in an accessible way.
The Clean Air programme will support multidisciplinary research and innovation to stimulate practical and usable solutions for clean air through predictive understanding of future air quality challenges, a systems approach to analysis, new technologies and innovative policy and practice interventions to benefit vulnerable groups, improve public health and support clean growth.
The programme will be delivered through a series of activities managed by different delivery partners:
- Innovation funding competition for UK businesses with solutions to work on product and service development, and first deployments of technologies to tackle non-exhaust and non-road-vehicle air pollution (Innovate UK)
- Activities to network and leverage existing UKRI major, long-term strategic investments in order to support multidisciplinary policy-relevant research to underpin sustainable solutions for air quality (NERC)
- Activities to develop a systems framework for clean air analysis (Met Office)
- A Clean Air Champion to maximise links across the programme, knowledge exchange, business convening, and links into international efforts, and start to refine the priorities for future investment (NERC).
2019 - 2022
Can I apply for a grant?
No, there are no open calls at present.
Award details of the five research projects awarded by UKRI are shown in our online grants browser - Grants on the Web:
Public summaries of the six feasibility projects awarded by Innovate UK (PDF) - external link - are also available.
The UK Clean Air Champions - external link - were announced on Clean Air Day, 20 June 2019. Their role is to coordinate the research investment and to be an advocate for the programme.
The governance of the UK Clean Air programme encompasses a number of different bodies which undertake different roles.
The Programme Board is responsible for providing the strategic direction for the programme, the delivery of the programme's objectives and is the ultimate decision-making authority for the programme. It comprises the programme's delivery partners as follows:
- UKRI-NERC (co-Chair)
- Met Office (co-Chair)
- UKRI-Innovate UK
and the National Physical Laboratory.
The Steering Committee provides strategic advice to the Programme Board in support of the programme's objectives. Its membership is as follows:
- Professor Paul Monks, University of Leicester (Chair)
- Professor Chris Whitty, Department of Health & Social Care (Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA))
- Professor Phil Blythe, Department for Transport (CSA)
- Dr John Newington, Defra (CSA representative)
- Dr Sarah Moller, Defra (CSA representative)
- Dr Simon Vosper, Met Office
- Professor Alastair Lewis, University of York
- Mr Alex Minshull, Bristol City Council
- Professor Helen ApSimon, Imperial College London
- Professor John Cherrie, Heriot-Watt University
- Dr Liz Rogers, BP
- Professor Stephen Holgate, University of Southampton (Champion team)
- Dr Jenny Baverstock, University of Southampton (Champion team)
- Professor Martin Williams, King's College London (Champion team)
The Secretary, based at NERC Head Office, provides administrative support to the Programme Board and Steering Committee.