This programme will address a significant gap in our understanding of how pollutants enter, transform and interact within freshwaters, and the ecosystems that freshwaters support.
It will consider how the infiltration and movement of chemical substances (pollutants) will be amplified or mitigated by a changing hydrological cycle induced by climate change and other catchment changes.
Through the improvement and development of tools to monitor and measure contamination, as well as collaboration and engagement with key stakeholders, it will help us to develop management and mitigation strategies for improving or sustaining the quality of freshwaters across the UK.
The overarching programme will enable transformative research in three distinct areas:
- better understanding of the sources and processes by which pollutants are entering, mixing, being transported through and leaving freshwater systems
- investigating the impact of mixtures of chemical (and biological) contaminants and their exposure regimes on the quality, ecology and biodiversity of UK freshwater ecosystems
- enabling and informing the development of better plans for adaptation, mitigation and detection of risks for key stakeholders, now and in the future.
The projects funded through this programme will be interdisciplinary, bringing together relevant experts from environmental science and other relevant disciplines and sectors in the UK that are needed to deliver the integrated cross-sectoral research required.
Projects will increase our understanding of:
- how chemical (and biological) contaminants enter, transform and interact within river systems, and how that impacts on the quality of the ecosystems that they support
- how we can better adapt and mitigate future risks to river quality related to climate and other changes impacting the hydrological cycle.
The programme will support innovative collaborations including those with intervention-focused organisations and practitioners, creating a community of researchers and funding projects that span the three thematic areas of the programme.
Collaborations will include steer from the UK government, devolved administrations, policy, regulators and industry, to ensure that they enable sustained change and long-term benefits.
Projects will work closely with relevant stakeholders during the design phase and throughout the lifespan of the project.