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New appointment makes professor a central figure in UK air quality research

19th October 2022

A researcher at Northumbria University has become a regional lynchpin in the UK’s efforts towards achieving better air quality.


Professor Anil Namdeo, Professor of Air Quality Management in the University’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, has been appointed by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) SPF Clean Air Champions Team as its Regional Clean Air Champion (RCAC) for the area from the East Midlands to the North East of England.

The role, which Professor Namdeo will hold for two-and-a-half years, will see him act as the region’s central point for air quality research. He will increase collaboration and impact across and beyond the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) Clean Air Programme, which manages a £42.5m fund for research and innovation to develop practical solutions to today’s air quality challenges.

As well as connecting with SPF Clean Air-funded researchers to promote collaboration and knowledge exchange, Professor Namdeo will identify challenges and barriers standing in the way of regional advancements and communicate these to the programme.

The position is one of only five that exist currently across the UK, created by The Clean Air Champions to equip the country to protect our health and support clean economic growth by proactively tackling air pollution.

A Chartered Environmentalist and Chartered Scientist, Professor Namdeo is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society (FRMetS) and a Fellow of the Institute of Air Quality Management, having worked extensively in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

With a particular interest in environmental justice, his research bridges the gap between engineering, social science and public health.

He said: “Regional Clean Air Champion is a position I’m very proud to hold and I’m passionate about its importance in improving the quality of the air we all breathe.

“I’m especially looking forward to working with leading academics to engage with those in business and industry, health professionals, local authorities and the public to ensure future air quality policies and developments are based on quality research.”

Professor Namdeo, whose previous breakthroughs have helped clean up the school run, and applied insight from the neolithic era to prevent needless deaths caused by poor ventilation, is also an ad-hoc member of Defra’s Air Quality Expert Group and a member of Civil Aviation Authority’s Environmental Sustainability Panel.

Speaking of this appointment, Professor Sir Stephen Holgate from the UKRI SPF Clean Air Champion Team said: “RCACs are vital in our joint mission to clean up the air we breathe and each of them brings something unique to the Clean Air SPF.

“Professor Namdeo’s expertise and passion will enhance the programme’s diversity of ideas, enrich its work and increase its national and international impact, helping improve the lives of people all over the world who will benefit from breathing healthier air.”

Northumbria University is ranked second in the UK for its research impact in Geography and Environmental Sciences, with 90 per cent of its studies rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent.
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