Professor Maggie Dallman, Andy Slaughter MP, and Professor Frank Kelly (L-R)

Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith (@hammersmithandy), visited White City to see the latest research on air quality and hear how Imperial (@imperialcollege) is supporting the community.

Hosted by Professor Maggie Dallman, Vice-President (International) and Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships), the first part of the visit included the Translation and Innovation Hub (I-HUB), for an overview of the College’s latest development plans for the Campus.

They discussed Imperial’s work to combat isolation and loneliness by providing STEM education support during the pandemic. The White City Community Engagement distributed over 3,000 STEM activity packs to local families, whilst the ‘Ready Tech Go’ programme, led by the Imperial ICT Department, donated hundreds of laptops and electronic devices to local school children and elderly residents.

More recently a new Saturday Science Club has also been inspiring families in White City throughout the summer. Over the course of six weeks, the same families returned to build on their learning through playful science-themed activities, led by an Imperial scientist.

A key feature of the College’s education programming is the extent to which it draws on Imperial’s researchers and students - more than 300 staff and students have been involved in delivering community activities since last year.

Community Health and Policy

The visit continued at the Sir Michael Uren Hub where Mr Slaughter met Professor Frank Kelly, Inaugural Battcock Chair in Community Health and Policy, and the UK’s leading air pollution scientist.

Mr Slaughter, who has asked several questions in Parliament on the subject in the past, was updated on the history of air quality monitoring in the capital. Professor Kelly explained that we have a far more accurate picture of air quality in the capital compared to only years ago, but with additional work needed to understand the full impact on people’s health and livelihoods across the city.

My Slaughter also learnt about a number of School of Public Health projects designed to expand our knowledge of the state of air quality, including the West London Healthy Home and Environment Study (Wellhome). Working in partnership with the local community, a team led by Professor Kelly will follow 100 households in West London to examine the quality of air inside and outside the home.

The four-year research project was funded by UKRI through the SPF Clean Air Programme, to better understand how the composition, concentration and exposures of air pollutants affect children with asthma and people living in urban environments.

The visit concluded with a discussion about the pressing needed to improve air quality across the capital, including the use of more public transport. There is a wide body of Imperial research showing the significant impact that Active Travel can have on personal carbon emissions in cities.

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