About Us

What are the programme aims?

The Clean Air programme aims to bring together leading researchers from across atmospheric, medical and social science to better predict exposure to air pollution and its effects on vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. It will identify practical and usable solutions to air pollution to help policy makers and business protect health and work towards a cleaner economy.

Why study air pollution?

Poor air quality is acknowledged as the top environmental risk to public health in the UK, with air pollution in the UK is responsible for ~40,000 early deaths and has a cost of ~£20bn pa to health services and business. For example, air pollution makes us more susceptible to respiratory infections and other illnesses, where particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone were estimated to cost UK businesses £2.7bn in productivity losses in 2012, and are projected to cost the NHS and social care systems between £5.3bn and £18.6bn by 2035.1

How is the programme delivered?

The programme is a £42.5m research and innovation investment supported through the UK Research and Innovation Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) and is delivered across two waves of SPF funding.

Through the first wave of investment (£20.5m), the programme has supported multi-disciplinary research and innovation to stimulate 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; and improve public health and support clean growth.

Click here for more detailed information on supported research from the first wave of investment.

Through the second wave of investment (£22m), the programme aims to equip the UK to proactively tackle new and emerging air quality issues, relating to changing emissions, and the need to evaluate exposure across all outdoor and indoor environments as a continuum, and their impacts on vulnerable groups of people.

Click here for more information about the second wave of investment.

The programme also supports a Clean Air Champion team  who provide leadership and coordination across the programme and with the wider research and stakeholder community.

Who are our partners?

The Clean Air programme is jointly delivered by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Met Office, with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Innovate UK, Medical Research Council (MRC), National Physical Laboratory (NPL) Science and Technology Facilities Research Council (STFC), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), Department for Transport (DfT), Scottish Government and Welsh Government. 

1 Defra 2019 Clean Air Strategy https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/clean-air-strategy-2019