UK and India launch joint clean air research initiative

The UK and India have launched a joint research initiative to drive forward the countries’ pursuit of clean air.

The two-year Innovating for Clean Air (IfCA) initiative – launched in Bangalore, India last week – will see the two countries working together to develop solutions for air quality and electric vehicle integration.

The initiative aims to test a new air quality monitoring system which integrates satellite and sensor data, and will also help the countries’ transition towards EVs.

Speaking at the launch of IfCA, British Deputy High Commissioner Dominic McAllister said: ‘Such collaborative initiatives are an example of how the UK and India can work as a joint force for good on innovative solutions, and can bring the best of our research communities, academia and businesses together to address shared challenges, such as clean air.’

Traffic congestion in Bangalore, India. India contains 22 of the world’s 30 worst cities for air pollution.

The IfCA programme builds on the links between Bangalore and London, both of which were founding partners of the C40’s Air Quality Network.

As part of the programme, British and Indian scientists and researchers will look to find innovations that could improve air quality and provide an environment to test these ideas.

Specifically, they will work on developing a detailed localised map of Bangalore’s air quality, which uses both satellite and sensor data including on-the-ground and mobile data.

Researchers will also look to explore challenges around EV charging infrastructure, grid management and renewable energy and collaborate with each other to find solutions to these challenges.

The programme is led by Innovate UK – part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – and is funded by the Newton Fund, which aims to develop research and innovation partnerships between the UK and India.

UK Research and Innovation India (UKRI)’s director Rebecca Fairbairn said: ‘UKRI has been working with India for over a decade, focussing on excellent research that makes a difference to society and to our economies.

‘The UKRI-India joint portfolio covers the full spectrum of research and innovation. This exciting new initiative is a first for the UK Catapults and for UKRI’s engagement with India and demonstrates the creativity possible through India-UK partnership.’

India suffers perennial issues with poor air quality as it contains 22 of the world’s 30 worst cities for air pollution.

It faces increasing pressure to improve its air quality over the coming years as studies warn the combined effects of climate change and air pollution could take a significant toll on the country’s economy.

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