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Birmingham launches pan-European search for clean air leaders

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The Clean Air Fund and the University of Birmingham, with the support of the McCall MacBain Foundation, are searching the UK and Europe for the next generation of leaders for the clean air movement.

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural McCall MacBain Clean Air Fellowship, the University is offering five exceptional students the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in Air Pollution Management and Control as McCall MacBain Clean Air Fellows.

The University is keen to find candidates from the UK, Central and Eastern Europe to pursue the one-year programme – all fees, living, visa and travel costs included.

Applicants must demonstrate a strong rationale for studying air pollution and commit to tackling the problem through their career choice after they graduate. Full information on how to apply can be found at

Francis Pope, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Birmingham, commented: “The University of Birmingham is passionate about clean air – we’re at the forefront of research on the causes and effects of air pollution upon human health across the United Kingdom and across the globe.

“Building on the programme’s success in its first year, we believe the Fellowships will be instrumental in producing the next generation of clean air leaders; young scientists with the tools to understand and unlock the twin threats of air pollution and climate change.

“The UN recognises that air pollution and climate change are two sides of the same coin. We’re just starting to understand how the two relate and the possible consequences and impact of air pollution on climate change. This programme is building into an important step towards understanding and addressing these challenges.”

Designed by academics who are world-leading in their field, the programme takes an interdisciplinary approach, utilising expertise across departments for a holistic understanding of air pollution and its effects. Birmingham has over 100 researchers studying clean air from across its five colleges. The campus operates state-of-the-art pollution research facilities, which have been commissioned for several seminal air pollution studies.

Course fees and a stipend to cover living, visa and travel costs are included in the Fellowship, and fellows benefit from a tailored programme of masterclasses and career development opportunities such as practical experience and networking provided by the University and the Clean Air Fund.

Last year’s launch saw a trio of young environmental scientists – two from the UK and one from North Macedonia, the most polluted country in Europe – enrolled onto the programme. The inaugural Fellows are Lejla Ademi, from Tetova, North Macedonia; Owain Rose, from Port Talbot, Wales; and Catrin Rathbone, from Horsham West Sussex.

Lejla Ademi commented: “Being part of a global community of air pollution experts will give me the skillsets to work with the North Macedonian Ministry of Environment to help the people of my city and country.”

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