Manchester-based air quality research programmes to share £2m of funding

Two Manchester-based research programmes to tackle air pollution will receive almost £2m in government funding.

The first is the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) air quality supersite, one of three being established in the UK, which will make continuous measurements of air quality at a higher level of detail than is provided by existing monitoring stations.

The Manchester Urban Observatory will also share the funding to build a network of mobile devices that can be deployed around the city to develop and monitor solutions to urban challenges in real-world settings.

It builds on the successes of smart city projects including Triangulum and CityVerve that have developed data-driven approaches to smart and sustainable urban development in Manchester.

Data from the two sites is generated in real-time and is open source to help policymakers make more informed decisions.

The funding is being provided by the UKRI Clean Air Strategic Priorities Fund, alongside the EPSRC UKCRIC. Manchester is currently the only city in the UK to receive the combination of both of these capital investments.

Together, the two projects will combine expertise from the Manchester Environmental Research Institute, the Manchester Urban Institute, the Data Science Institute and Digital Futures.

A key aim of the projects is to promote internal and external researchers to come and use the equipment and collaborate with The University of Manchester.

Dr James Allan, a researcher at The University of Manchester said: ‘The measurements will help us to better understand air pollution in UK cities, in terms of the sources of pollution and the processes by which it evolves in the atmosphere.”

Eamonn Boylan, chief executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority added: ‘Greater Manchester has bold ambitions to become a world-leading green city-region – it’s at the heart of everything we do. It’s great to have Manchester as the home of this new air quality supersite, one of just three in the UK.

‘The data and insight it will give us into air pollution and its local sources will be invaluable in helping us reach our goal for a cleaner, greener, climate-resilient city-region that is carbon neutral by 2038.’

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