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NERC appoint Freshwater Quality Champions

FWQ Programme

NERC co-appoint Professor Pippa Chapman and Professor Joseph Holden as Freshwater Quality Champions

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have co-appointed Professor Pippa Chapman and Professor Joseph Holden as the new Freshwater Quality Champion for the Understanding changes in quality of UK freshwaters programme.

This appointment will see the academics lead and co-ordinate a new four-year programme on ‘Understanding changes in quality of UK freshwaters’, that will address a significant gap in our understanding of how pollutants enter, transform and interact within rivers, and with the ecosystems that rivers support.

Professor Pippa Chapman and Professor Joseph Holden expertise will help to bring together researchers, practitioners and policymakers to deliver research to understand the major sources, pathways, transformations and interactions of pollutants in freshwater ecosystems.

Pippa is a soil scientist and Chair of Biogeochemistry, with research activities focused on effects of land-use change and agricultural management practices on soil functions, nutrient cycling, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water quality. She was recently invited to present research carried out in collaboration with Welsh Water, Yorkshire Water, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland, at the inaugural UK Agriculture Partnership launch, which focussed on improving water quality across the farming landscape. She is also a member of the northeast England Lowland Agricultural Peat Task Force and Defra’s Environmental Land Management Expertise Group.

Joseph is founding Director of water@leeds, one of the largest interdisciplinary university-based water research centres in the world. The research centre brings together expertise from across the physical, biological, chemical, social and economic sciences and engineering as well as the arts, to tackle water challenges. He sits on the Government’s expert water advisory board and a number of other panels including SSE’s Viking Windfarm Environmental Advisory Group, and MS Amlin’s (international reinsurance company) Science Advisory Board.

Currently they work together as leaders of the £6M NERC Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP) which brings together academics and experts from organisations active in catchment management to find ways to use existing environmental science more effectively – including coming up with solutions to water-related problems – to deliver impact to maximise resilient growth and social benefit.

In a joint statement, the Freshwater Champions said:

We seek to build an interdisciplinary freshwater quality community that includes researchers, practitioners and policymakers, capable of delivering impactful, transformative research to understand the major sources, pathways, transformations and interactions of pollutants in freshwater ecosystems. In doing so, we will facilitate new knowledge and approaches which will help reduce pollutant loadings to river systems, improve their ecological status and ensure the UK freshwater network is more resilient to climate and land-use change and other emerging stressors.

For more information about the programme please visit the Understanding changes in quality of UK freshwaters programme page on the UKRI website