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MRC centenary - public outreach events

This year the Medical Research Council celebrates 100 years of life-changing discoveries. To mark the centenary, King's has been involved in a number of public outreach events along with our colleagues from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Imperial College London as part of the MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health.

In June, Andrew Grieve and Ian Mudway were privileged to attend an event in the House of Commons organised by NERC and the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST). Drs Grieve and Mudway spoke to Members of Parliament and the Lords about air quality in London and the UK. The stand focused on the movement of people around cities during rush hour which is often a time when pollution levels are highest increasing the exposure of the commuting population. The question from one Member of the Lords about the effect of air pollution on pet tortoises was one of the trickiest yet.

The 'The Life Game', held at the Science Museum over the weekend of 15 and 16 June, featured a wide range of activities and stalls from many organisations connected to the MRC. Participants were given a character - a pal - which they took through the festival making choices at each activity that would affect their characters life chances. Drs Ian Mudway and Helen Wood from King's joined colleagues from Imperial on the air quality stand which challenged visitors to decide whether city or countryside dwelling was better for their health.

The final public engagement event was held in Paddington Railway Station on 25 June. Paddington Station is interesting from an air quality perspective. A report from Westminster City Council identified trains from Paddington as contributing up to 50 per cent of pollution in the station. Hundreds of thousands of commuters pass through this busy station every day.  Researchers from King's and Imperial set up an air quality information stand including personal particulate and noise monitors, offering commuters the opportunity to learn about aspects of air pollution and health, commonly invisible to them. Drs Andrew Grieve and Ian Mudway, and Effie Coe from Invisible Dust were available to discuss Paddington's air quality with commuters.

These events form part of a continuing programme of public outreach events, which enable King’s researchers and collaborators to communicate their latest research direct to the public in an engaging and informative way.