National Physical Laboratory

Scientific partnership signed to tackle environmental challenges

Environmental challenges such as climate change will be explored in a new partnership between the University of Reading and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

Scientific partnership signed to tackle environmental challenges
Left to right: Dr Nigel Fox (NPL), Dr Phil Newton (Reading), Dr Robin Hart (NPL) and Sir David Bell (Reading)

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two institutions lays the foundations for joint science and research opportunities in areas such as monitoring the environment, air quality and climate change, as well as making joint working easier.

The agreement was officially signed in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading on Wednesday 27 July, by Dr Phil Newton, Research Dean for Environment at the University of Reading, and Dr Robin Hart, Strategy Director at NPL. Also in attendance were Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Reading; Dr Nigel Fox, Head of Earth Observation and Climate and a Fellow at NPL; and academics from Reading's Department of Meteorology.

Sir David Bell said: "Both the University of Reading and the National Physical Laboratory are distinguished research institutions in the field of meteorology and this is a genuine opportunity to come together in our common goals. Our hope is that this MoU will help stimulate new alliances in the areas of the measurement and mathematics of our environment, and will make easier the spontaneous links that will in the future, as in the past, help scientists in our institutions forge alliances to address new problems."

The MoU was initiated by increasing co-operation between NPL and the University of Reading's Earth Observation and space research division, which encompasses several areas of research within the University's School of Mathematics, Physical and Computational Sciences.

A growing aspect of NPL's research is environmental measurement, which is the main area of mutual interest. The Centre for Carbon Measurement at NPL brings measurement science to the challenging issue of global climate change to provide critical support to the climate science, policy and low carbon business communities.

Climate change research is a priority for both institutions, and there are collaborative projects going back several years looking at how light from the sun and infrared radiation from Earth travel through space and how this affects Earth's climate systems. Other areas of research likely to be collaborated on in the future include environmental big data, Earth and solar radiation and weather and climate instrumentation.

The SCENARIO DTP (Science of the Environment: Natural and Anthropogenic processes, Impacts and Opportunities Doctoral Training Partnership), directed by Prof John Methven in the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology, is also supported by NPL.

Dr Robin Hart, of NPL, said: "This is a great example of the long-term partnerships we are looking to forge to help us better understand our environment and find solutions to some of the biggest problems facing society today. The absolute bedrock of making scientific progress is better observations, and this MOU will streamline our ability to embed good measurement practice in environmental and climate data sets that will have a major impact on policy making and society."

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Last Updated: 2 Aug 2017
Created: 28 Jul 2017

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