Posted: Mon 20th Nov 2023

North Wales Uni’s pioneering approach to public health surveillance through wastewater wins Royal Award

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Nov 20th, 2023

A North Wales University has been awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its pioneering approach to public health surveillance, utilising wastewater.

This prestigious award, approved by His Majesty The King, is part of the UK’s national Honours system and celebrates outstanding work by universities and colleges across the country.

Bangor University has been recognised for its novel approach to public health surveillance, particularly through the analysis of harmful pathogens in wastewater.

This system played a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing essential data to track the spread of the virus.

It has since been adapted to monitor a broader range of public health indicators, demonstrating the university’s commitment to addressing contemporary health challenges.

The announcement of the Prize-winners was made at a reception at St James’s Palace in London, with a formal Honours ceremony scheduled for next year.

This accolade not only highlights Bangor University’s innovative research but also underscores the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in tackling complex public health issues.

Professor Davey L. Jones, who leads the team at Bangor University, has been instrumental in the development of this surveillance system.

He said: “I’m very pleased to accept this Award on behalf of our wastewater research team.”

“The expertise we have at Bangor University within our Schools of Environmental, Natural and Ocean Sciences in terms of the fundamental scientific understanding of the transport and fate of pathogens at a catchment scale truly underpinned our ability to act quickly at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to develop this novel system for public health surveillance.”

“By working in partnership with industry, agencies, and governments locally, nationally and internationally, we will continue to discover what more wastewater can tell us about human health and the way we live our lives.”

Adding to the commendations, Professor Paul Spencer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Bangor University, praised the wastewater team for their exceptional work.

Professor Paul Spencer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research added: “Congratulations to the wastewater team on receiving this prestigious Award.”

“This project is a great testament to Bangor University’s interdisciplinary approach to research, and illustrates the powerful real-world impact which can be achieved through collaborative working between researchers, industry and government.”

Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of The Royal Anniversary Trust said: “The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are an integral part of our national Honours system, shining a light on the groundbreaking work taking place in universities and colleges across the UK.”

“All 22 Prize-winners demonstrate excellence, innovation and impact, with many tackling some of the toughest problems we as a society face today. They are to be commended for reaching this pinnacle of achievement in the tertiary education sector. Congratulations!”

The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education have been a part of the UK’s Honours system since 1994.

Awarded every two years, they recognise outstanding work by UK universities and colleges that demonstrate excellence, innovation, and benefits to the wider world.

The rigorous and independent review process conducted by The Royal Anniversary Trust ensures that these awards are a mark of high achievement in the tertiary education sector.

For more information on all the award winners, visit www.queensanniversaryprizes.org.

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