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PositionLecturer

    Environmental Health At

    The University Of Nottingham

    August 2004

Commissioned by Professor Sarah O’Hara, School of Geography, UoN.

Written by J. Wegerdt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

     LIST OF TABLES ..................................................................................................................................... 3 LIST OF APPENDICES ........................................................................................................................... 3 ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS ....................................................................................................... 3 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................................... 4 SEARCH METHODS .................................................................................................................................... 4 RESULTS ....................................................................................................................................................... 4 UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM ............................................................................................................. 5 INDIVIDUALS ......................................................................................................................................... 5 ACADEMIC UNITS ................................................................................................................................. 6 THEMES ................................................................................................................................................. 7 ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH CONDUCTED IN UNIVERSITIES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM. ................................................................................................................................................. 8 1. Birmingham University .................................................................................................................... 8 2. University of East Anglia ................................................................................................................. 8 3. Lancaster University ........................................................................................................................ 8 4. University of Leeds .......................................................................................................................... 8 5. University of London King’s College ................................................................................................ 8 6. University of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine ....................................................... 8 ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH THEMES ............................................................................... 9 THE FUTURE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH AT UON ................................................10 GRANTS ....................................................................................................................................................11 BBSRC ....................................................................................................................................................11 EPRSC ....................................................................................................................................................11 ESRC ......................................................................................................................................................11 MRC .......................................................................................................................................................11 NERC .....................................................................................................................................................11 DEFRA ...................................................................................................................................................11 THE WELLCOME TRUST ......................................................................................................................12 THE LEVERHULME TRUST ..................................................................................................................12 THE JOSEPH ROWNTREEE FOUNDATON...........................................................................................12 THE COMMUNITY FUND .....................................................................................................................12 ACTION MEDICAL RESEARCH: ...........................................................................................................12 ASSOCIATION FOR INTERNATIONAL CANCER RESEARCH (AICR) ...................................................13 BRITISH LUNG FOUNDATION .............................................................................................................13 CANCER RESEARCH UK .......................................................................................................................13 ASTHMA UK (NATIONAL ASTHMA CAMPAIGN) .................................................................................13 THE SIR JULES THORN CHARITABLE TRUST .....................................................................................13 DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT .........................................................................................................13 DFID ......................................................................................................................................................13 DEPARTMENT FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY .......................................................................................14 EU PRAXIS .............................................................................................................................................14 APPENDICES ............................................................................................................................................15 INDEX .......................................................................................................................................................55

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LIST OF TABLES

Table 1 Individuals at the University of Nottingham, by department, with environmental health

     related skills and interests ........................................................................................................... 6

LIST OF APPENDICES

    Appendix 1 University of Nottingham ...............................................................................................15 Appendix 2 Environmental Health Research conducted in UK Universities .......................................23 Appendix 3 BBSRC ..........................................................................................................................38 Appendix 4 EPRSC ..........................................................................................................................39 Appendix 5 ESRC .............................................................................................................................40 Appendix 6 MRC ..............................................................................................................................41 Appendix 7 NERC ............................................................................................................................43 Appendix 8 Defra: ............................................................................................................................45 Appendix 9 THE LEVERHULME TRUST .......................................................................................48 Appendix 10 COMMUNITY FUND .................................................................................................51

ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS

Defra Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

    Dept. Department

    GIS Geographical Information Systems

    IGBiS Institute for the Study of Genetics, Bio-risks and Society

    MRC Medical Research Council

    UK United Kingdom

    UoN University of Nottingham

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INTRODUCTION

This report is the first stage in attempting to make Environmental Health research stronger at the

    University of Nottingham.

Therefore, the specific aims were to:

    1. identify individuals in the University of Nottingham who are currently conducting

    environmental health research

    2. identify individuals in the University of Nottingham whose research interests might have

    relevance to environmental health research

    3. identify universities in the United Kingdom who are conducting environmental health research

    with the view of collaborating with them, and assessing who the main competitors are in this

    research area

    4. locate available funds for carrying out environmental health research

SEARCH METHODS

Searches were conducted on the Internet only. A list of all schools and Departments in the University

    of Nottingham was obtained, and lists of the staff were systematically searched for their involvement

    into Environmental Health research.

A list of all universities and colleges in the United Kingdom

    (http://www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/ukinfo/alpha.html) was obtained. All Universities and a selection of

    Colleges were searched for their involvement in Environmental Health research. The words

    “environmental health” (without the quotation marks) were inserted into the Search bar on the

    University WebPages. On the few occasions that this facility was unavailable, I selected relevant

    departments and searched these. If the Homepage or a secondary page had a link to “Institutes”,

    “Research” and /or “Centres” then these avenues were also browsed. Taught research courses were

    excluded from the search, such as Masters Courses and PhDs.

Occupational environmental health, and Health and Safety research were excluded from the results

    and the term “environment” was defined using the conventional meaning: air (excluding indoor air),

    land and water. Therefore, environmental health in relation to food and nutrition, mental health and

    psychology, for example, were also excluded from this report.

    RESULTS

(Full results from the searches are presented in the Appendices starting on page 15; however, a

    summary is given below.)

The results from The University of Nottingham were graded according to their relevance to

    Environmental Health per se. There are individuals included in the list who are perhaps doing

    environmental research with some reference to its relationship with health, or, in the case of

    Environmental Impact Assessments for example, some subjects are likely to cover environmental

    health. Although the star ranking is quite arbitrary, it was based on the following: single star indicates

    there is environmental research conducted, that is likely to cover health, but there is no mention of it

    on the web-site, or they have the potential for environmental health research; a double star suggests

    there is environmental health research being carried out, but the health side may be secondary to

    environmental research, or the mention of health is small; three stars means that the group or

    individual are conducting environmental health research. The star system is used in the tables in the

    Appendices

The rank system is also used for the research conducted by Universities in the UK. They have been

    assigned on a similar basis.

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UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM

    INDIVIDUALS

    The search identified 43 individuals interested in environmental health research, or with the potential to contribute to environmental health research at The University of Nottingham.

Five individuals and one research group were found to be doing Environmental Health research

    (ranked three stars) at the University of Nottingham (see Appendix 1 on page 15). Seventeen groups

    or individuals (ranked two stars) were found to be doing research on the environment, which may

    include some reference to health, whilst nineteen (ranked with a single star) have the potential for environmental health research and are currently doing research related to the environment.

Presented by Department, the six researchers and groups interested in environmental health are

    summarised below.

Dr. Andrea Venn: Division of Epidemiology and Public Health

    Position: Lecturer in Epidemiology

    Dr. Venn‟s main research interests include: asthma epidemiology, medical statistics, aetiological

    effects of air pollution, asthma and atopy in Ethiopia, aetiology of cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis.

Dr. Shona J. Kelly Division of Epidemiology and Public Health

    Position: Lecturer in Social Epidemiology

    In terms of environmental health, Dr. Kelly‟s main research interest is the health impacts of globally

    transmitted dust events. Other main research areas are:

    ? Identification of a biological exposure indicator for chronic stress that could be included in

    population or workplace studies

    ? Investigating how differential stressor exposure and stress response contribute to socio-economic

    gradients in health

    ? Interdisciplinary differences around the term 'stress' with the intent to describe a language for

    cross-disciplinary discourse

    ? Age, gender and social class differences in responses to the self-reported health question ? Differentiating between real and perceived occupational or environmental exposures to hazardous

    substances

Dr. Richard Hubbard: Division of Epidemiology and Public Health

    Position: Reader in Clinical Epidemiology

    Dr. Hubbard‟s research related to environmental health come under the environmental health impact

    of the Aral Sea. Other interests are Pharmaco-epidemiology (safety of inhaled corticosteroids);

    Epidemiology of fracture; Early life risk factors for asthma; and Aetiology and management of

    cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis.

Prof. John Britton: Division of Respiratory Medicine

    Position: Professor of Respiratory Medicine

    Prof. Britton lists one of his main research interests as the epidemiology and aetiology of asthma and wheezing in children and adults, specifically the role of:

    ? Passive cigarette smoke exposure

    ? Indoor household pollutant exposures

    ? Outdoor pollutants and exposure to vehicle pollution

    ? Dietary nutrient intakes

    ? Antibiotics, infection and parasites

    And studies of respiratory and other diseases in developing countries, such as the effect of dust

    exposure on childhood respiratory diseases in Uzbekistan and the prevalence and aetiology of

    emerging asthma in Ethiopia.

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Other research interests, perhaps less related to environmental health include; the implementation of

    successful smoking cessation services; the epidemiology and treatment of Cryptogenic Fibrosing

    Alveolitis (CFA); the efficacy of steroid and other treatments in CFA; studies of complementary

    therapy in asthma; studies of adverse effects of steroid therapy in asthma and COPD.

Prof. Sarah O’Hara School of Geography

    Position: Professor of Geography

    Prof. O‟Hara‟s research interests include dust and respiratory health in the Aral Sea Basin and the link

    between soil type and podoconiosis in Ethiopia.

    , in addition to water management strategies in the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia; Late

    Holocene Environmental Change in Southern Alberta; and recent and long-term environmental change

    in Mexico.

The Academic Division of Vascular Medicine School of Medical and Surgical Sciences

    The primary research interests of the Division include the vascular complications of diabetes and

    peripheral vascular diseases; mechanisms and pharmacological approaches to insulin resistance and

    the metabolic and haemo-dynamic abnormalities associated with diabetes and obesity; hypertension;

    and micro-vascular function in relation to diabetes, microalbuminuria and lower limb ulceration. One

    of the Collaborating Research Groups is with the MRC Institute for the Environment and Health

    (Leicester University).

ACADEMIC UNITS

The five individuals currently conducting environmental health research are from The Division of

    Epidemiology and Public Health (including the Division of Respiratory Medicine), and the School of

    Geography.

Other individuals identified to be potentially interested in environmental health research came from

    the following departments: See Table 1 below.

     1 No. of individuals in dept.

     *** ** * Total Biosciences 1 1 ?Division of Epidemiology and Public Health 41 2 7 ?Faculty of Law and Social Sciences 1 1 IGBiS 1 1 School of Biology 1 1 School of Bio-Sciences: Agriculture and Environmental Sciences 3 3 ?School of Chemical, Environmental and Mining Engineering 6 7 13 School of Geography 1 3 1 5 School of History 1 1 ?School of Law 2 2 School of Medical and Surgical Sciences 1 1 ?School of Pharmacy: Medicinal Chemistry and Structural Biology 1 1 School of Politics 2 2 School of the Built Environment 4 4 Table 1 Individuals at the University of Nottingham, by department, with environmental health related skills and

    interests

Therefore, the School of Chemical, Environmental and Mining Engineering has the most potential and

    /or interest in environmental health research, followed by the Division of Epidemiology and Public

     ?1 Research Groups are included in this table; marked with .

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Health. The School of Geography and the School of the Built Environment have five and four

    individuals identified as potential environmental health collaborators respectively.

THEMES

The main subject areas of research that make up environmental health research, and that are covered

    by the University of Nottingham, are:

    - Chemical Hazards

    - Climate Change

    - Diseases (Cardiovascular and Respiratory) and the Environment

    - Dust

    - Environmental Law

    - Landfills (see also Pollution: Land)

    - Ozone Modelling

    - Pesticides

    - Pharmaceuticals and environmental toxins on the immune system

    - Pollution:

    o Air

    o Indoor and Outdoor

    o Land

    o Soil

    o Vehicle

    - Radiation

    - Toxicology

    - Waste (Management)

    - Water (Treatment) and Management

This is quite a diverse selection of research areas that form a good basis for environmental health

    research. In addition, there are no doubt numerous individuals who have the skills to contribute to

    environmental health research, but have not expressed such an interest on the website, where this

    information was derived.

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH CONDUCTED IN UNIVERSITIES IN THE

    UNITED KINGDOM.

This report has identified six universities as conducting major Environmental Health research. They

    are:

    1. Birmingham University Birmingham University has some strong departments, such as the School of Geography, Earth and

    Environmental Sciences (GEES) and the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology. Within

    these two departments are various research groups, some of which solely cover environmental health

    research, for example the Division of Environmental Health and Risk Management. Outside of these,

    there are other research groups (Chemical Hazards and Poisons Division and the Centre for

    Environmental Research and Training).

    2. University of East Anglia The School of Environmental Sciences has numerous research groups including the Air Quality Group,

    the Centre for Environmental Risk and the Waste Management Group, all of which conduct research

    covering the environmental impacts on health.

    3. Lancaster University The Lancaster Environment Centre has a partnership with Westlakes Research Institute. There are

    teaching interests in environmental health and research groups that consider health in their research,

    such as the Air Pollution Group and the Genetics Group.

    4. University of Leeds Research activities associated with LANTERN are being conducted by six departments: Institute for

    Transport studies; Energy and Resources Research Institute; School of Civil Engineering; Molecular

    Epidemiology Unit; School of Chemistry; Dept of Mining and Mineral Engineering. The Molecular

    Epidemiology Unit (in the School of Medicine and School of the Environment) also covers

    environmental health research.

    5. University of London King‟s College

    The University specialises in the health impact of air pollution through the Lung Biology Group and

    the Environmental Research Group (including managing LAQN - London Air Quality Network

    among others).

    6. University of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    Between the Disease Control and Vector Biology Unit and the Public and Environmental Health

    Research Unit, some major environmental health research is conducted, often in developing countries,

    but not solely so. In addition, there is the International Programme for Ethics, Public Health and

    Human Rights group and the Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Research Unit, whose interests

    cover environmental health.

See Appendix 2 on page 23 for the full results of environmental health research conducted in UK

    universities.

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH THEMES

The themes researched by the most relevant universities are:

    ? Chemical Hazards

    ? Diseases: Cancer, Respiratory Health

    ? Energy

    ? Environmental Factors In The Aetiology Of Asthma ? Environmental Health Law

    ? Environmental Process Engineering

    ? Incinerators

    ? Lead Exposure

    ? Metals

    ? Pesticides

    ? Pollution

    o Air (Indoor And Outdoor)

    o Chemical

    o Land

    o Noise

    o Sediment

    o Soil

    o Water ? Risk And Risk Assessments

    ? Statistics And Surveillance Systems (including GIS) ? Technologies (Water, Chemical, Energy)

    ? Toxicology

    ? Transport

    ? Tropical Environmental Health

    ? Waste

The themes given the most attention are: air pollution, waste, toxicology (including cancer and

    chemicals), environmental risk assessments, and land contamination. (See the Index on page 55)

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THE FUTURE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH AT UoN

    The key strength of the six main competitors in the field of environmental health is that their research groups and institutes are interdisciplinary. The University of Birmingham has an interdisciplinary approach, linking staff across a range of Schools, for example, its Centre for Environmental Research and Training (CERT) alone supports around 150 academic staff with a broad range of expertise. Likewise, Lancaster University‟s Environment Centre supports nearly 300 researchers and teachers. Some of the universities also have strong links with business, which appear to open up opportunities.

    Numerous disciplines have been mentioned within environmental health, including the use of the following experts:

    ? Anthropologists

    ? Biologists

    ? Chemists (including Geochemists, Biochemists, etc) ? Ecologists

    ? Economist

    ? Engineers (including Environmental engineers, water engineers, civil engineers, etc.) ? Environmental scientists

    ? Epidemiologists

    ? Geographers

    ? Historians

    ? Immunologists

    ? Parasitologists

    ? Physicists

    ? Policy analysts

    ? Political scientists

    ? Psychologists

    ? Statisticians

    ? Toxicologists

    A further advantage of the six aforementioned universities is that they have multiple Research Groups and Institutes that specialise in small areas and on distinct themes, rather than attempting to undertake several broad topics.

    an advantage that the University of Nottingham has in order to develop environmental health research is that there are already numerous individuals who are conducting research on this topic and many more who have the potential or the interest to do so.

    One weakness is that the university lacks a central co-ordinating body and lacks the set-up of specialist Research Groups within either that body or the Schools to concentrate solely on environmental health related research. However, as mentioned before, the university is large enough to call on a number of researchers from different disciplines, thus creating the multidisciplinary background essential for environmental health research.

The questions we need to ask ourselves are:

    ? Do we have the potential to strengthen our research remit in this area?

    ? If so, how do we go about doing this?

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