Project Structure

The CAPACITIE Project is comprised of four interrelated workpackages and 12 PhD projectsThe relationship of each work package relative to each of the others is displayed in the figure, below.


Summary of Workpackages

The CAPACITIE Project research is comprised of 12 individual PhD projects, the overall aim of which is to address different aspects of pollution monitoring of city environments. The projects are grouped into four inter-related workpackages, according to the aspect of the problem that each project is assessing. Two additional workpackages will focus on the overall training vision of the project and ensuring that the outputs of this research will have an impact.

Workpackage 1

While a number of novel technologies already exist, uptake by the end-user sector is slow in Europe due to the burden of regulated methodologies and related issues associated with technologies developed by the academic community which do not meet the specific needs and requirements of end users. In order to develop new effective monitoring approaches for environmental pollutants it is therefore essential to not only focus on technological developments but also to understand the needs of different users of the monitoring data and the barriers and opportunities for employing these technologies in the real world. By doing this, the likelihood that new technologies adopted by end users will be significantly increased. Therefore WP1 involves social science based projects aimed at fully understanding the needs of end users of monitoring data and of how best to engage different stakeholders in monitoring activities. The information generated will be used to inform the developmental work done in the experimental-based projects.

PhD projects within this workpackage:

PhD 1: End users and new pollution technologies

PhD 2: Environmental monitoring as a participatory science

Workpackage 2

In recent years, there has been increasing concern that humans and the environment will be exposed to many pollutants that are not monitored which may be causing harm. These so called ‘emerging pollutants’ (EPs) originate from a variety of product types including human pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines, nanomaterials, personal care products, paints and coatings. Some EPs, such as the natural toxins and degradation products of man-made chemicals may also be formed within the natural environment by animals, plants and microbes. Numerous classes of EPs have been shown to be released to the environment and EPs have been detected in a range of environmental compartments including surface waters, groundwaters, drinking waters, fish and earthworms across the globe. There is now recognition that these substances should be considered in monitoring programmes and that we should work to understand the implications of these substances in terms of human health endpoints and environmental risks. As the list of EPs of potential concern is enormous, the challenge is to develop approaches for identifying the EPs that really matter and then developing analytical methods for detecting and characterising these.

WP2 will explore how to better prioritise EPs in the city environment using transformation products in the indoor air and surface water environments as a case study.

WP2 will therefore also further develop and apply some of the cutting edge analytical technologies to understand the exposure of humans and the environment to emerging pollutants in the indoor environment and surface waters in cities.

PhD projects within this workpackage:

PhD 3: Identifying emerging contaminants of concern in city water bodies

PhD 4: Monitoring and modelling exposure to indoor air pollutants

PhD 5: Monitoring engineered nanoparticles in surface waters

Workpackage 3

Substantial progress has been made over the last decade in the production of compact and low cost sensors for detecting environmental pollutants. These compact systems can increase the density and coverage of monitoring networks, to support compliance assessment and to inform policy and research. WP3 will build on recent developments in compact, low cost sensor technologies to develop new multi-species sensors for measuring key air and water pollutants in cities.

Legacy monitoring technologies can mean that large conurbations with populations in the hundreds of thousands being represented by only a single point observation. A variety of new technologies are however now available for detection pollutants in the environment that could greatly extend the coverage of pollution monitoring both in time and space. Technologies of potential utility include passive sampling devices, mobile ‘phones, wireless sensor networks and robots. There is also increasing interest in the use of environmental specimen banking for understanding pollution issues that may have developed over time. While some of these technologies are already being applied to understand pollution problems, others have yet to be fully developed for pollution monitoring applications or effectively adopted by end users. WP3 will therefore also explore how a range of potential new monitoring technologies, including robots, mobile ‘phones and specimen banks, can be used most effectively to understand exposure to pollutants in city environments.

PhD projects within this workpackage:

PhD 6: Low cost multispecies air quality sensors

PhD 7: Low cost multi-parameter sensors for monitoring pollutants in water

PhD 8: Crowdsources noise and air pollution monitoring

PhD 9: Environmental specimen banking for understanding city pollution

PhD 10: Monitoring hard to reach environments


Workpackage 4

The broadening of pollution monitoring programmes and the adoption of technologies that allow monitoring at higher spatial and temporal resolutions will mean that the amount of monitoring data produced in a city system will increase by orders of magnitude. Efficient methods for capturing and storing this information will therefore be needed. Improved methods will also be needed for combining and analyzing data from different sources and appropriately responding to this data in order to enhance the health of the human population and the environment. Ideally, these analyses and responses will be done in real time. WP4 will therefore develop ICT technologies for data collection and analysis and explore how to effectively use the generated information for short- and long-term decision making.

PhD projects within this workpackage:

PhD 11: Capture and analysis of monitoring data

PhD 12: Use of monitoring data and ICT support city planning decisions


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