Work across the WRC aims to understand and predict the behaviour of Earth surface systems and their response to human perturbation. Our cross-disciplinary research programmes have been developed in areas including geological disposal, remediation, environment & health, climate change and nanotechnology. The impact of these programmes includes:
- Enhancing our understanding of the mechanisms of arsenic mobilization in SE Asian aquifers and the risk associated with their consumption to tens of millions of people. The group has managed several high profile pan-European and UK-Asian networks promoting delivery of research into policy, generating much media interest.
- Contributions to climate change science, including work on mineral dusts involving WRC mineralogists working with atmospheric physicists in SEES. The WRC-based fungal ecology group contributed the only data from Svalbard to a synthesis of climate warming experiments in the Arctic, used in the 2007 IPCC Report. Our organic geochemists made studies on the effects of climate warming in the Eurasian (Russian) arctic region, including the 2008 ISSS-08 expedition (with Swedish, Russian and US scientists) to improve predictions of the impact of a warming climate on both the Eurasian Arctic region and the global carbon cycle in general.
- The WRC also has strong links to the nuclear sector and offers supporting infrastructure to the recently established Research Centre for Radwaste and Decommissioning. Work done in this area has included a major MOD/NERC grant on the fate of depleted uranium shell penetrator materials in the environment, studies on the biogeochemistry of environments contaminated with radioactive waste (identifying the full redox cycle of several fission products and actinides) and bioremediation work for US and UK stakeholders.
- The application of novel functional bionanominerals for bioremediation (supported by a BBSRC IPA award with commercial partners) has also been developed recently in the WRC.
- Finally WRC academic staff have generated successful spin-out companies including Salamander which has successfully developed and marketed innovative products to the water industries and other sectors.