Researchers at Imperial are already tackling pollution in many different forms. From reducing plastic pollution to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality, from understanding human behaviour to sustainable business, there is a wealth of research happening across College. We want to combine these strengths into a coherent vision built around this urgent global societal need.

Framework for research

The Transition to Zero Pollution initiative will facilitate development of the cross-disciplinary research, innovative technology solutions and policy interventions needed to realise our vision. We will build a transformational cross-disciplinary framework for zero pollution research built on four pillars of excellence, all linked by a focus on systems approaches:

A venn diagramm showing the four research pillars (zero pollution technologies, zero pollution economy, sustainable water-food energy, and environmental health) with a systems approach to zero pollution in the centre of the diagram

  • Zero pollution technologiesUsing engineering and physical sciences research to develop new zero pollution technologies
  • Environmental healthBetter our understanding of air and water pollution, their impact on human health, and how to mitigate them
  • Zero pollution economyDeveloping innovative economic and business, policy and community engagement models for a sustainable society
  • Sustainable water-food-energyEnsuring that we use water and produce food and energy in a sustainable way
  • Systems approach to zero pollutionBy taking a holistic view of the issues of global pollution we will find solutions to address this major societal challenge

You can read about the work going on for some of these grand challenges by following the links below.

We will be working with colleagues across Imperial to shape the direction of these research themes. Some of the research challenges we will be pursuing across the pillars to work towards a zero pollution society includes: Zero waste and sustainable resource extraction; Sustainable, integrated food/water/energy systems; Blue-Green cities; and Zero pollution transport, including electrification of transport and electric aircraft.