Blog posts

Toilet to Tap: Can you taste the difference?

Last week, our research group participated in this year’s Imperial Fringe, a series of public events exploring the unexpected side of science.  The event is based on Imperial’s ground-breaking research, and is comprised of public evening events to engage with and build Festival audiences throughout the year via innovative public programming.

We took this opportunity to demonstrate one of the key areas of our research: water reuse or recycling. Our group decided to promote awareness by having attendees of Imperial Fringe to taste the difference and to see if they can discern between the three water types: tap water, bottled water and reclaimed/recycled water.

Centre for Environmental Policy: 2016 PhD Research Symposium

Each year, the Centre for Environmental Policy holds a research symposium for its PhD students, giving them a chance to present their research to the members of the department. For this symposium, first year PhD students are required to produce a poster about their research, while second years are expected to present the progress made regarding their PhD. In this post, I’ll be giving a brief overview of the 2016 PhD research symposium held on the 29th June 2016 with some insights on the presentations from the members of the Environmental Quality Research Group.

The symposium started with brief poster discussions for the first year students to showcase their research.

Building a joint knowledge base for catchment management

Last month, Dr Nick Voulvoulis and I visited the Netherlands to meet our GLOBAQUA partner, Dr Adriaan Slob, to develop a policy work plan involving stakeholder collaboration workshops to facilitate the bridging of the science and policy gap for the GLOBAQUA catchment case studies. The meeting concluded with the need to promote interdisciplinarity between researchers, water managers, policy-makers and other actors within the catchment in both the assessment of water quality and improving management decisions to meet the objectives of the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Why interdisciplinary knowledge is important in catchment management?

The management of water resources is becoming increasingly complex as it is deeply embedded within a diverse range of economic and cultural activities emphasising the need to understand how our society interacts with the natural water environment.

Working in a diverse industry: Water

Environmental Technology MSc student Rhys Goddard speaks about his experience during the Anglian Water Placement in 2014/2015.

Monday 12th May 2014 marked my first day both as a member of the Innovation Department at Anglian Water, and in a role relevant to the field of my degree. For me, the Anglian Water placement followed on from what was a relentless journey through academia, through which I had gained a wealth of theoretical knowledge. However, as a recent graduate I still lacked any industry experience. The opportunity to study as a post-grad student at one of the most prestigious universities in the world while also gaining industry experience from one of the largest water company in the UK was therefore too great for me to miss.

Systems in the eyes of the beholder

Over a month ago, we organised a stakeholder workshop as part of the GLOBAQUA project with the goal of identifying ecosystem services (goods and services obtained from nature – for more information see Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) and understanding how human activities within the catchment influence those important services. This workshop was the first stakeholder interaction planned for the project and I am pleased to present to you a summary of what happened on that day.

So what is GLOBAQUA? Well, it is a project funded by the Seventh EU Framework Programme under the full title Managing the effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems under water scarcity.

Systems versus Linear thinking

A few weeks ago, Alozie led a PhD workshop on systems thinking; exploring the concept’s theoretical roots and some research applications in both the management of water resources and mineral active regions.

Systems thinking in simple terms implies a rather general and superficial awareness of systems (a purposeful structure that consists of interrelated and interdependent elements or components) and using that awareness to treat something (a problem, an occurrence, a phenomenon) as a system. The concept has emerged in mainstream environmental science as a means to address the complex nature of environmental problems and as a result of the criticisms and limitations associated with more conventional and reductionist management thinking (“divide and conquer mentality”).

Meet the Team

Just as we believe it is important for you readers out there to know the work we are doing, we also believe it is important for you to know who we are. In this post, you will meet the members of the Environmental Quality Research Group who work tirelessly to deliver high quality research in the field of environmental science and policy.

The Staff

 Dr Nick Voulvoulis is the group’s leader and is an expert in water and environmental management especially where science and engineering interface with public policy. His research focuses on the development of methods for assessing emerging contaminants (sources, pathways, fate and impacts), with emphasis on waste and wastewater treatment processes.

Our research

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Our research focuses on environmental pollution by hazardous substances, e.g. biocides, pesticides, endocrine-disrupting chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and impacts of pollutants on ecosystems and human health. Encouraged by our research findings having an impact on environmental decision-making and policy on environmental quality, climate change and human health, we see impacts to society, community participation in science and links between environmental behaviour and public perception as research areas increasingly associated with our work. For example the concept of public participation in collection of useful environmental quality data that we piloted through the Opal Soils project will provide a unique opportunity to deliver new tools and opportunities for the ‘Big Society’ concept and citizen science as a tool.

Introducing the Environmental Quality Research Group

Welcome to our first ever blog post! Our research group consists of academic staff and post-graduate students who are avid about understanding the interdisciplinary nature of environmental quality and its impact on our society. We have decided to start this blog to offer a means of communicating our research within the department, the university and anyone who is interested in environmental policy and management.

 What we do?

 Our research takes place in the niche area of the link between engineering, science and policy for environmental quality, and its impact to quality of life.

Our work focuses on three main themes:

  • Water Technology and Management – The theme is focused on the research needs emerging from the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive.