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Centre of Excellence in Water-Based Early-Warning Systems for Health Protection

We’re working to transform public and environmental health management, developing a nationwide early warning system for diseases using water-based systems.

Our vision

Managing outbreaks of disease currently relies on large-scale and costly mass testing of individuals. Collection and processing take several days - crucial time in fast-moving outbreaks.

Covid-19 highlighted successful outbreak management is critically dependent on real-time, cost-effective and comprehensive surveillance systems, that allow community-wide testing, irrespective of location.

Wastewater contains a complex mix of biomarkers, including toxic chemicals and pathogens. This provides a diagnostic medium for community health status assessment, giving detailed real-time, anonymous and low-cost information on population health and disease.

We aim to transform public and environmental health management, establishing the first Urban Living Lab facility; a state-of-the-art digital water sensing platform, training base and ideas hub. The centre will combine sensing, mathematical modelling, data analytics and informatics with epidemiology and public engagement tools.

Barbara Kasprzyk Hordern and Laurie Lapworth in a lab at the UniversityBath

Our ambition

We will work with regional and national stakeholders to provide a practical roadmap for a UK early-warning system platform. This platform will allow us to test public health and environmental interventions focussed on increasing community resilience to disease, pollution and climate change impacts.

We will realise our ambitions by:

  • Investing in bespoke research infrastructure, providing a research base for the Urban Living Lab facility
  • Upskilling and diversifying our research teams
  • Establishing a Doctoral Training Partnership to develop new skill sets and future leaders
  • Building relationships with regional, national and international partners
  • Delivering research that covers biomarker discovery for public health, new analytical pipelines and sensing approaches, one-health frameworks, modelling, and Internet-of-Water (IoW) platforms
  • Working with partners in health, environment and technology to deliver impact and engage the public.
Waste water flowing through a pipe into a stream

Our partners

Effective resilience-building for public and environmental health is multi-dimensional, cross-discipline and requires whole system collaboration.

We're partnering with government organisations (UK Health Security Agency, Environment Agency, Bath and East Somerset Research Council); water industry and consultancies (Wessex Water, ARUP); hospital trusts (Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust); sensor and information systems industries (Tesla Diagnostix, AWS, The London Data Company, Waters); and universities (Cardiff University, University of Exeter, the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Stellenbosch University and University of Lagos).

Pultney weir in Bath, seen from above.

Find out more about the Centre

Meet the team and see the latest news and research from the group

About us

We’re working to transform public and environmental health management, developing a nationwide early warning system for diseases using water-based systems.