A quick hello from a Panton Fellow…

Hi everyone my name is Rosie Graves and I am one of the newly appointed Panton Fellows– yay! I am really excited about this opportunity and can’t wait to start telling you all about what I’ve been up to, but first things first let me tell you about what I’m planning to do this year.

Working hard on a rooftop in Italy!

Working hard on a rooftop in Italy!

My background is in developing and using new techniques for air quality monitoring in urban environments, I have just submitted my PhD at The University of Leicester on this last week!! My PhD took me to some exciting places including Bologna in Italy but for my fellowship I will be staying closer to home. During my PhD I was heavily involved in public engagement and outreach projects, the most recent of which was the C4C project.  This project entailed setting up networks of primary schools across three UK cities (Leicester, Birmingham and Manchester) to collect high spatial resolution rainfall data.  This project was hugely successful with a great response from students and teachers and is what my Panton Fellowship will build on.

As a Panton Fellow I am planning to install affordable air quality sensors in three primary schools across Leicestershire. The data  I collect at these schools will be made publicly accessible on a webpage along with other sources of air quality data. This webpage will be designed to be a useful teaching resource for the schools as well as of general interest for local residents. I also plan to blog and tweet regularly about my latest results- watch this space!

I think that air quality is a prime candidate for a project using open data owing to the huge impact that poor air quality can have on the public. It is estimated that poor air quality cost €800bn within the European Union in the year 2000 (Brandt. et.al 2013). With an increasing global population and urbanisation this figure is likely to continue to rise without public behavioural change and successful implementation of mitigation strategies. Despite the huge health and economic impacts of poor air quality it remains an issue with very low public understanding. For mitigation strategies to be effective policy makers need support from the tax payers and thus, dissemination of information relating to air quality needs to improve. Hence, access to and the promotion of open air quality data and education through outreach activities are vital in order to enhance public understanding of this issue and lead to improvements in air quality. I am particularly eager that school children should have more access to open data as it is only through exposure to science that we can inspire them to study it further and encourage better global governance of environmental issues by future generations.

So, that’s about all for now, I can’t wait to get started and am really excited about the next year. If you want any more information or to get involved in some way please feel free to contact me.



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