A project led by a University of South Wales (USW) lecturer has narrowly missed out on an international award.
A team fronted by Dr Leshan Uggalla was narrowly defeated in the Impact in Society Awards, which were presented by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), for developing a cost-effective and reliable method of air quality monitoring method.
The awards were split into three categories – Sustainability and Climate Change: securing a zero-carbon future; Healthy lives: assisted living, robotics, etc; and Digital Futures: promoting professional ethics and trust – which had entries from across the globe.
In the Healthy lives section, the USW project was pitched against two teams, one based in Nigeria and the other in Malaysia, with members operating in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the USA. The Nigerian entry, which worked to ensure the success of a telemedicine project, won the category.
The air monitor was developed after the USW team became concerned by the impact roadside pollution can have on public health, particularly that of school pupils, who were walking close to busy traffic. The project gained support from the Welsh Government, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Respiratory Innovation Wales (RIW), and Wales Institution for Digital information (WIDI).
“The device was designed to be cheap enough to be placed in a variety of locations, and to be easily monitored so that the data collected can be made readily available,” Dr Uggalla said.
“Air monitors could previously be very expensive and only available to record data for a certain number of days or weeks before being moved to other locations to take readings, but this device can be installed with minimum maintenance, and at a fraction of the cost, and the data can be collected and visualised very easily through smart networks and devices.
“This means they can stay in place for a much longer period of time and collect a great deal more information, giving authorities an opportunity to understand the areas of concerns and policymakers more details of what may be needed to address air pollution problems.”
After being shortlisted for the final award, Dr Uggalla said:
“First of all, we would like to congratulate the winners and all the other shortlisted members within all categories for their great journeys so far.
“We are delighted to be shortlisted for the award as this is an excellent recognition of our project’s impact on society and the hard work of all team partners and their members.
“We will continue our work and would like to thank the University of South Wales and all the partners, the Welsh Government, Rhondda Cynon Taff Council (RCT), Respiratory innovation Wales (RIW), and Welsh Institute for Digital Information, for their outstanding contribution towards the project.
“Finally, a huge thank goes to IET for organising the event.”