Examples of Projects in Environmental Quality

Managing the effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems under water scarcity

The Environmental Quality Group within the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College is leading Work Package 12, of the €10 million multidisciplinary 5 year research programme carried out to investigate how the effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems under water scarcity can be sustainably managed, called Globaqua and  funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme.

Thames Water Strategic Asset Planning Research

Dr Nick Voulvoulis is coordinating collaborative research between Imperial and Thames Water that addresses specific research needs on water and wastewater. It delivers real benefits though innovation as it connects the theory of academia with the reality of practitioners in the field.

Services Provided:

  • Research projects
  • Collaborative research
  • Opportunities for comminication and professional development

Country(ies):  UK
Project value:
£140, 000
Duration:
36 months
Client:
Thames Water

 

OPAL National Soil Centre

The OPAL National Soil Centre is one of five national centres of expertise under the OPAL project. OPAL is a collaboration between 15 leading institutions to work with local communities throughout England to develop and deliver a programme of environmental projects, generate public interest and stimulate he next generation of scientists. The centre is based at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, under the overall direction of Dr Nick Voulvoulis. The centre coordinates the OPAL Soil and Earthworm Survey, which is open to everyone. The survey aims to build a picture of soil quality and earthworm populations all over England. The OPAL soil team works with communities in London and the South East of England to promote OPAL and support members of the public to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to better understand and monitor the environment.

Services Provided:

  • Development, launch and support for a national soil survey by running community-based events and providing training in the survey methodology to groups and individuals
  • Analysis of results of national soil survey by individuals and community groups, with results delivered online, giving a unique nationwide view of the resource
  • Development of best practice guides Development of a network of groups and individuals interested in furthering their awareness and understanding of the environment
  • Development of a network of groups and individuals interested in furthering their awareness and understanding of the environment

Country(ies):  UK
Project value:
£500,000 (part of £12.7 million total)
Duration:
36 months
Client:
Big Lottery

Assessing and managing risk associated with mining in Chile

Dr Nick Voulvoulis and Professor Jane Plant are supervising research on the environmental impact of Mining. A series of PhD projects for Anglo American have developed methodologies for risk management and have highlighted where to aim investment and further research to minimise such impacts.

Services Provided:

  • Reports on mining operations in Chile, pinpointing high risk locations and developing strategies to lower and manage operational risk
  • Update on the environmental assessment for mining chemicals
  • Update on human health and environmental risks from endocrine disrupting compounds and potentially harmful substances in the mining environment

Country(ies):  Chile/South Africa
Project value:
£299,505
Duration:
42 months
Client:
Anglo-American

Sustainable production and consumption research

Developing the concepts and conflicting demands of the water-energy-food nexus, where each is inextricably bound to the others, our research offers interdisciplinary approaches and modes of action that aim to address sustainability. Sustainable production and consumption is a concept that involves redesigning the supply chain to convert it f rom a linear to a cyclical process i n order to minimise the environmental impacts and ensure a sustainable, circular economy. Research into the subject identifies where there are big wins, where there a re synergies, where substitutions will work and how to deal best with the irreducible minimum of waste.

Services Provided:

  • Research into WEEE: best available reuse and recycling technologies
  • Investigation into waste mining; precious metals from waste
  • Study of how best to encourage SMEs to recycle electronic waste

Country(ies):  UK
Project value:
£66,628
Duration:
42 months
Client:
CIWM-Defra

Veolia Waste and resource management research

Dr Nick Voulvoulis is leading collaborative research with Veolia Environmental Services on resources management. Waste is increasingly regarded not as a burden to be disposed of but a resource to be exploited, with corresponding environmental benefits. A continuing research programme investigates opportunities for waste minimisation, recycling and reuse, as well as the possibility of creating not necessarily less but better waste. Alongside this, current policy is examined in order to highlight how it can be adapted to better serve environmental, social and commercial needs.

Services Provided:

  • Delivery of various reports on UK domestic, municipal and commercial waste streams, waste facilities and needs broken down by type & area

Country(ies):  UK
Project value:
£80,000
Duration:
36 months
Client:
Veolia

Anglian Water – Strategic Research Partnership

A longstanding successful research collaboration between Imperial College (led by Dr Nick Voulvoulis) and Anglian Water, forms a Strategic Partnership between the two institutions. The partnership entails several components, providing a tailor-made service to Anglian Water, helping alleviate key challenges the industry is facing.

Services Provided:

  • Industrial research coordinator fellowship - facilitating development of Anglian Water research roadmap (5-10 years) to help the industry understand their key research needs and match with leading experts at Imperial College, mobilising collaborative research projects.
  • Consultancy projects to meet urgent research needs. Examples: evaluation of alternative catchment management measures and potential for Anglian catchment; feasibility study of application of fuel cells for drinking water treatment.
  • Leveraging funds and inclusion in consortia for larger proposal bids such as for EU funds.
  • Horizon scanning and expert advice - CEP is advising Anglian Water on a variety of key areas and emerging topics; e.g. EU policy development on priority substances.

Country(ies):  UK
Project value:
£230-,500
Duration:
36 months
Client:
Anglian Water

Ex post evaluation of cohesion policy interventions 2000 – 2006 financed by the Cohesion Fund (including former ISPA)

Contribution to EU environmental policies (2009CE16CAT050)

As part of the Ex Post Evaluation of Cohesion Policy Interventions 2000-2006 financed by the Cohesion Fund (including former ISPA) undertaken by RGL Forensics on behalf of the European Commission, Dr N Voulvoulis & his team in CEP at Imperial College provided an assessment of the contribution of the Cohesion Fund and ISPA-funded Interventions in drinking water provision, wastewater treatment, and solid waste collection, treatment and disposal, in order to achieve compliance with the acquis communautaire in the field of environment at an EU country level. Seventeen countries were eligible for either Cohesion or ISPA funding during this period. In total, an estimated €m 15,307.54 of funds were allocated to environmental projects from 2000-2006.

Services Provided:

  • Delivered a methodology and systematic assessment of the value of the contribution of Cohesion Policy in the field of water, wastewater and waste, put in the context of each county’s needs in terms of meeting the European legislation
  • Assessed over 1,000 individual projects for contribution to meeting environmental needs
  • Informed decision-making and policy formulation for the future through the provision of empirically-driven feedback.

Country(ies):  EU-28
Project value:
£230-,500
Duration:
6 months
Client:
European Commission

Find out more about the project

Emerging concerns in field of Personal Care Products

Personal Care Products contain certain ingredients whose long terms effects on the environment are currently unknown but which are increasingly emerging as a source of concern. Work under Dr Voulvoulis will provide a desk-based study to investigate the substances of greatest concern, the quantities used, the possible environmental effects and the public perception of the potential risks in order to pinpoint areas for priority research.

Services Provided:

  • Review and methodology for risk-based assessment of emerging chemicals used in personal care products

Country(ies):  UK
Project value:
£5,000
Duration:
5 months
Client:
PZ Cussons

Review of UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) evidence to assess scope for business-related ecosystem market opportunities in the UK

The review of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment evidence was commissioned for the Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF) by the Valuing Nature Network (VNN) and was partially funded by NERC and Defra. Dr Voulvoulis worked with a team of experts to provide a comprehensive overview of various types of opportunities for UK business that value ecosystem service s and also provided suggestions as to what actions are required to enable such opportunities including recommendations for further EMTF research.

Services Provided:

  • Delivery of overview of opportunities for UK business that value ecosystem services
  • Delivery of suggestions for actions required to facilitate such opportunities
  • Delivery of recommendations for further EMTF research

Country(ies):  UK
Project value:
£10,000
Duration:
6 months
Client:
Ecosystem Markets Task Force, NERC & DEFRA

Using Ecosystem Services to communicate the benefits of the WFD

On behalf of the NERC Water Security KE Programme (WSKEP) and in collaboration with the Environment Agency , Dr Nick Voulvoulis has been coordinating research on how can we better communicate Water Framework Directive (WFD) outcomes/environmental improvements in terms of Ecosystem Services. This work aimed to review the methodological linkages between the Ecosystem Services Approach (ESA) and the WFD and to assess the potential “added value” of using the ESA methodology in the WFD decision-making process. The ESA to implementing the WFD offers the opportunity of applying systems thinking that may lead to different observations and decisions, offering the potential to maximise value across all ecosystem services. The work builds on Environment Agency and Defra work to explore the use of ecosystem services approach in helping to deliver WFD objectives.

Services Provided:

  • Published research paper: "The potential of using ecosystem approach for Water Framework Directive (WFD) implementation" with highlights:
  • How an ecosystem approach could help facilitate WFD implementation
  • A framework linking ecosystem services and water management objectives is proposed
  • The benefits of using the ecosystem approach in WFD implementation
  • How the ecosystem approach can contribute to more holistic water resources management

Country(ies):  UK
Project value:
£10,000
Duration:
6 months
Client:
NERC: WSKEP

NERC/DEFRA Joint Water Evidence Group Evidence Review Fellowship

Following the successful collaboration with NERC and Defra, a new NERC and Defra funded Evidence Review Fellowship has been established under Dr N Voulvoulis at CEP, Imperial College London. The project enables a Policy Placement Fellow to work within the core Joint Water Evidence Group to further the development of their Evidence Review (ER) methodology. Dr Alex Collins is contributing to Defra’s Guide on the production of evidence reviews, part of a two year contract for a managed service provider for the Water and Flood Risk Management Directorate, working on four evidence reviews for the Joint Water Evidence Group at the Department, on topics such as the impact of contaminated land and amenity pesticides on water, the use of wetlands to reduce agricultural pollution and a review of the health risks of bathing in natural waters.

Services Provided:

  • Enhancement of collaborative working on land and water issues across the Defra network to ensure the best use of resources and embrace innovative approaches to gathering evidence
  • Delivery of research summaries of evidence available and most up-to-date research in response to a given question in order to communicate findings to end-users, making better use of existing research and ensuring that research has real impact
  • Delivery of guidance on Evidence Review methodology and practice, incorporating feedback and comments from end users and stakeholders, thereby improving the understanding of the science-policy interface
  • Delivery of best approaches to achieve effective and timely communication, in the appropriate format, to a wide range of stakeholders in order to maximise the benefits of the project to policy makers, businesses and practitioners.

Country(ies):  UK
Project value:
£50,376
Duration:
12 months
Client:
NERC/DEFRA