Researchers in Residence: Improving Air Quality in Cities


Our Researchers in Residence activity is part of our Academic Engagement Programme and develops new collaborations through research visits/residencies for university academics to spend time embedded within the Catapult teams to build stronger partnerships in the national innovation system and supporting the best environment for innovation. In this case, this project’s innovation is on improving air quality in cities.

This project is being undertaken by Dr Eloise Marais from University College London and focuses on launching urban air quality and green space monitoring into the 21st century.

Net Zero; Green Technology; Tech Innovation for Net Zero


Dr Eloise Marais is an Associate Professor in Physical Geography at University College London. Her expertise are in air quality monitoring and modelling, Earth observations, and big data analytics. She obtained her PhD at Harvard University and went on to do postdoctoral research at the same university.

Her research group at Leicester works on understand the influence of human activity on air quality, health and climate on local, regional, and global scales. Eloise has been working as a Researcher in Residence at Satellite Applications and Connected Places Catapults since 2017, developing the end user tool TRACE (Tool for Recording and Assessing the City Environment). Air quality is exceedingly challenging to monitor in cities where people are exposed to air pollution.

Net Zero; Green Technology; Tech Innovation for Net Zero


Networks are costly and cannot be distributed throughout cities. TRACE addresses this shortcoming by transforming Earth Observations of atmospheric composition into information about air quality by making use of the extensive global and decades-long record of Earth observations. TRACE is being developed in close consultation with end users in UK city councils, DEFRA, and data analytics companies. This project was selected in 2018 as Finalist of the Copernicus Masters Challenge.

Get in touch

Please contact for further information about any of the researchers we are currently working with or find out more about our Researchers in Residence programme here.