Research on the environmental safety and toxicity of nanomaterials in fishes has had a global
impact across both government and industry contributing to:
(i) Consensus building on biological effects allowing regulatory agencies/governments to
make proper decisions on the hazard of nanomaterials to farmed fish and wildlife.
(ii) Critical evaluation of the internationally agreed process of toxicity testing to determine
whether the current legislative test methods are fit for purpose and acceptable to the
(iii) Identification of national/international research priorities and policies via work with the
OECD and the US Government.
(iv) Influencing government policy to support training and information for industry.
Over one quarter of the estimated 886 million undernourished people in
the world live in sub-Saharan Africa and their lives and livelihoods
depend critically on rain-fed agriculture. However this region has lacked
the equipment and the infrastructure to monitor rainfall. Over the past 20
years, the Unit's TAMSAT (Tropical Applications of
Meteorology using SATellite Data and Ground-Based
Observations) research group has developed a reliable and robust means for
monitoring rainfall, appropriate for use in Africa. In addition, the Unit
pioneered the use of such data to predict crop yields over large areas.
TAMSAT data and methods are now used in food security (to anticipate
drought and predict crop and livestock yields); in health planning (to
predict outbreaks of rain-promoted diseases such as malaria); in aid (to
guide the allocation and distribution of relief food and water); and in
economic planning (to plan mitigation activities and investment in
infrastructure). The Unit's programme of development and validation has
extended the method to all of Africa, at all times of year. Our work with
national meteorological services in Africa has helped them to build their
own capabilities and to both contribute to TAMSAT and exploit it. The data
provided by TAMSAT has had major impact in increasing the resilience of
African populations to weather and climate, saving and improving the
quality of lives, and strengthening economies in developing nations.
Dr Luiz Aragão in Geography at Exeter has, since 2008, led research
focused on quantifying the impacts of environmental change on fire risk
and carbon dynamics in Amazonian forests. This has had a number of
impacts. First, research into drought frequency and intensity and fire
occurrence has directly informed the design and implementation of
environmental policy and regulation in relation to a `zero fire'
policy by the State of Acre in Brazil. Second, the research has led to the
development of new monitoring tools to assist policy makers in
understanding the interactions between climate, ecosystems, and human
health in Amazonia. Third, research into carbon emissions has influenced
methodological development within the United Nations REDD (Reducing
Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing
Countries) programme in Colombia. Finally, Dr Aragão's research has been
widely disseminated in media outlets, thus increasing awareness of the
general public and policy makers on drought and fire issues in
Research and knowledge exchange led by Prof. Jefferies in sustainable
urban drainage systems (SUDS) has driven the design and integration of
SUDS into urban environments, into urban planning and everyday practice in
the UK, Europe and worldwide. This research has contributed to the
development of policies and established guidelines that have informed the
set-up of operational and monitoring systems and the reduction of a
training manual which is impacting widely on the sector (downloaded
>40.000 times). Evidence gathered through this research has supported
drainage policy nationally and now underpins important parts of urban
infrastructure, improving environments and their resilience to flooding.
Over the past two decades, researchers at the Institute for the
Environment (hereafter, the Institute) at Brunel University have generated
substantive evidence supporting the case for regulation of discharges of
pharmaceuticals into rivers and estuaries throughout Europe and for
improved sewage treatment, with significant implications for water
quality, aquatic life and public confidence. Their research has led to
improved sewage treatment in some countries and to changes in the European
Water Framework Directive (WFD; the primary legislation for protecting and
conserving European water bodies), such that regulatory limits for
environmental concentrations of the contraceptive pill hormones,
ethinylestradiol and oestradiol, are now included in River Basin
Management Plans for 2015. In 2011, a Queen's Anniversary Trust Prize was
awarded to Brunel University in recognition of the Institute's
considerable success in translating this research into European policy,
also influencing countries outside Europe.
In 2008-2009 the UK was subject to legal infraction proceedings at the
European Court of Justice
(ECJ) for allegedly failing to implement the European Union's Urban
Directive (UWWTD). Research by the Institute of Estuarine and Coastal
Studies, Hull (IECS) for
the Environment Agency (EA)/Defra provided evidence to the UK Government
for its defence
against these allegations. The research consisted of:
- literature/data reviews and collection and analysis of critical
evidence from the Humber.
- co-ordinating workshops and convening an expert panel of sufficient
opinion to counteract the European Court of Justice allegations.
In December 2009 the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of the UK.
Our research therefore
helped to save very significant, unnecessary capital investment in
nutrient removal technology for
sewage treatment nationally and in the Yorkshire and Humber region
especially. The UK
government thus avoided the possibility of major European Commission fines
of up to €703,000
per day, or €256m per annum, for infraction of the Urban Water-water
Treatment Directive .
Research at the University of Strathclyde has increased the economic and
policy modelling capacity of the Scottish Government. This has been
affected through collaboration between researchers at Strathclyde and the
Office of the Chief Economic Advisor (OCEA) and the Scottish
Government-funded Centre of Expertise in Climate Change, ClimateXChange.
The improvement in modelling capability and scope has enhanced the process
of policy formation and evaluation, as well as the outcomes from it. This
has allowed for improved decision making in the Scottish Government,
allowed significant budget savings, improved advice to Scottish Ministers,
improved interaction with the Westminster Government and resulted in a
more informed public debate on policy decisions.
Bangor Research since 1998 has pioneered, through experimental,
comparative and modelling studies and industry collaborations,
quantification of the wider ecosystem effects of fishing, specifically on
seabed habitats. Novel findings gave policy and economic benefits to the
fishing industry and led to the sustainable, continued profitable
development of the UK's largest blue mussel fishery and Isle of Man
scallop fishery, with a combined value of £22M. It directly led to Marine
Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of these fisheries and underpinned
certification of dozens of other demersal fisheries. Additionally, the
research has influenced UK retailer policies on sustainable fish sourcing,
providing direct environmental and commercial benefits and improving
public knowledge and sustainable consumption.
Two books and review/research articles in Italian have disseminated the
findings from the underpinning research on creating false autobiographical
memories and the dangers of inadequate interviewing techniques. This work
has critically increased awareness in the Italian legal system amongst
both barristers and judges, to the point of shaping the practice of
interviewing witnesses in that country. It has also informed all verdicts
on child sexual abuse by the Supreme Court of Cassation.
Research carried out at the University of Aberdeen has addressed
important clinical needs in neuropsychology/ clinical psychology. The work
has provided large sample normative data for psychological tests which
clinicians can use for comparison with a patient's test score. It has also
resulted in methods enabling them to draw inferences on individual patient
performance, and methods to use existing published data for reference
purposes. All of these have been made available to clinical practitioners
in user-friendly computer programs. Together, they have impacted directly
on the quality of care for people with neurological and psychological
conditions in the UK and worldwide, as well as the training of clinical
The resulting claimed impact has been on healthcare professional
guidelines and training. Practitioners have used these research findings
and tools in the conduct of their work.