20 May 2020  |  Online workshop via Zoom

AQNUK is collaborating with SAQN and the UKIEG to convene an online workshop, bringing together air quality, virology, aerosol, metrology, climate, health and built environment researchers to determine the current state of knowledge on the possible interactions between air quality and COVID-19, ambient environmental conditions indoors and out, establish evidence gaps and make recommendations for a necessary rapid response and longer term research agenda.

This event is open to any researchers in industry, policy, third sector or academia, particularly those based in the UK or affiliated with a UK research network. We welcome an international audience, especially those able to contribute expertise to address COVID-related air quality challenges of national (UK) importance.

Register to attend the event

We’ll be hearing from the UKRI Clean Air Champions, representatives from PHE, COMEAP and from Defra’s Air Quality Expert Group, who will be sharing initial findings from their recent call for evidence.

Researchers, relevant to their respective field of knowledge/expertise, are asked on registration to contribute the top 3 key knowledge gaps and top 3 facts/initiatives which might help with regard to the immediate need (lockdown period), medium term need (recovery) and longer-term including pandemic management including incidence of resurgence. The idea is designed to keep interdisciplinary conversations going rather than split things by subject area. These will be used for themes for discussion during workshop breakout rooms.

Registration is free and further detail (including the agenda) is available on the SAQN website. For anyone unable to make it on the 20th, you will still be able to register. A recording of the event will be made available and the breakout room online digital facility will remain open to all delegates to submit ideas for a week after the event.



14:00 Part 1: Welcome and Context

Chair: Dr Marcella Ucci, UCL and the UKIEG secretary

UKRI Clean Air Champions

Professor Stephen Holgate, Medical Research Council Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton
Professor Martin Williams, Head of Science Policy and Epidemiology team at King’s College London and former Head of the Air Quality programme at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dr Jenny Baverstock, Senior Collaboration Fellow at the University of Southampton.

Brief summary of CV-19 context in the UK

Professor Catherine  Noakes, University of Leeds
Sani Dimitroulopoulou, PHE
Professor Alistair Lewis, Defra Air Quality Expert Group
Dr Mike Holland, Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants COVID Group

Scenarios to be considered – pandemic & concurrent risks

Dr Matthew Hort, Head Atmospheric Dispersion and Air Quality, and SPF Clean Air Lead, Met Office

14:50 Part 2: State of knowledge

Present state of evidence and knowledge
Key knowledge gaps
Critical knowledge gaps

15:20 Part 3: Research Community Action

Ideas for research action to tackle the most critical gaps
Lessons to be learned for air quality and communicable and non-communicable diseases research

15:55 Summary and next steps

16:00 Meeting closes

Funding Opportunities for Air Quality & COVID-19

Below are some of the current funding opportunities available to researchers looking at the relationship between Air Quality and COVID-19. If you are aware of other relevant funding calls, please email fleur.hughes@york.ac.uk

NERC CV-19 public engagement

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is inviting proposals for public engagement with environmental science which understand, address or mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. NERC intends to fund projects costing up to £10,000 each with a total budget of £50,000. Successful projects must be completed by 31 March 2021. The closing date for proposals is 16:00 Hours (BST) Wednesday 13 May, 2020 via email. Full details of the funding call.

UKRI open call

This is an open call and proposals can be in any part of the UKRI remit. For those whose proposal is at least 50% NERC, welcome to contact NERC’s healthy Environment team. A representative can talk through with a prospective applicant the proposal idea– please email atmospheric@nerc.ukri.org – NERC are always happy for the community to get in touch.

Information on the UKRI open call can be found the UKRI website.


For proposals around CV-19 that have a strong health element, there is also an MRC/DHSC rolling call open, details of the call can be found on the MRC website.

Clean Air Programme

More info on Clean air can be found on the website.

Wave 3: research and innovation consortia TBC

NERC are anticipating opening another funding opportunity for research and innovation consortia to generate new knowledge and tools to influence policy and regulation. NERC ran scoping workshops in January and February around a UKRI Consortia call.  The read-out report of this workshop will be published by NERC.

Information on the Strategic Priorities Fund.

This video provides an overview from NERC on the two previous waves and aims of the programme.

UKRI Clean Air Champions

The Clean Air Champions act as thought leaders, flag bearers, and strategy owners for the new UKRI Clean Air programme. They bring together outstanding researchers in atmospheric, medical and social science in joined-up thinking and ground-breaking solutions to help create a sound health-based policy, innovative business and trusted public information for the benefit of current and future generations.