Project Details


Poor air quality is believed to result in around 50,000 premature deaths each year in the UK, according to Public Health England, and is thought to reduce people’s life expectancy by an average of nine months across the European Union.

The Joint Air Quality Initiative (JOAQUIN) Advanced Air Quality research Station (JAAQS) at the University of Brighton is an advanced air quality monitoring station established in 2015 as part of the €8m, multinational JOAQUIN project, which aimed to make advances towards a better air quality within the North West European air pollution region. The station was the first of its kind in the UK dedicated to the detection of harmful nano-sized particles and their gaseous precursors and continues to provide a research resource for investigations into air quality and improvement.

It has formed part of a wider, next-generation monitoring network spread across North West Europe, initiated during the project life 2011-2015 and designed as an ongoing research resource hosting an array of cutting-edge analytical instrumentation. It provides the capacity to monitor the contemporary urban atmosphere in unparalleled detail.

Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavilion MP, opened JAAQS in 2015 and congratulated the university for “breaking new ground and showing real leadership” with its “trailblazing” research.

Joint Air Quality Initiative (JOAQUIN) partners

Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij (VMM)
Intergewestelijke Cel voor het Leefmilieu (IRCEL-CELINE)
Vlaams Agentschap Zorg & Gezondheid (VAZG)
Stad Antwerpen

École des Ingénieurs de la Ville de Paris (EIVP)
Atmo Nord Pas de Calais

The Netherlands
GGD Amsterdam
Provincie Noord-Holland
Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM)
Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN)

United Kingdom
University of Leicester
Leicester City Council
London airTEXT
Greater London Authority (GLA)
Transport for London (TfL)

Key findings

Initial findings from the monitoring station indicate predictable increases in air pollution at peak travel times but an unexpected rise in ultra-fine pollutants during afternoons and in hot weather; these pollutants were transformed or ‘grown’ from gases. Data captured will continue to enable better understanding about the tropospheric composition and reaction pathways behind contemporary pollution episodes.


The JOAQUIN project enabled international collaboration on measures and solutions to mitigate air pollution. Deliverables from the outset included:

• A brand new, next generation air quality monitoring network (including the JAAQS facility in Brighton)
• An online NWE air pollution observatory
• An online decision support tool for local authorities and policymakers
• An online game and mobile application
• Teachers’ packs for air quality education in schools

A mayoral decision by Boris Johnson in February 2014 approved the Greater London Authority spending on support for JOAQUIN initiatives to supplement actions based on the Clean Air Fund, demonstrating the application of the air-monitoring research on public spending and improved air conditions in central London.


An ongoing research resource, some of the data from the JAAQS has been made available for public access on the linked website offering daily measures of the following:

• Nitrogen Dioxide NO2 – the main source is burning fossil fuels as in cars and this can irritate lungs and make diseases such as asthma worse. This, in turn, can lead to great risk of infections
• Ozone O3 – concentrations are often highest on hot, still and sunny days, and are a major component of modern ‘smog’
• Sulphur Dioxide SO2 – can be damaging to the environment and acts as a respiratory irritant, causing coughing and shortness of breath
• Formaldehyde HCHO – can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat.
• Nitrous Acid HONO – can contribute to the formation of other pollutants
Effective start/end date1/10/1131/10/15


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