SAMHE launches to monitor air quality in over 1,000 UK schools

SAMHE stands for Schools’ Air quality Monitoring for Health and Education and is a collaboration between scientists, pupils and teachers to establish a network of air quality monitors in schools across the UK. It aims to generate an huge dataset which will help researchers better understand schools’ indoor air quality.

Schools are now being asked to sign up for the project and the organisers hope that between 1,000 and 2,000 will sign up. 

The schools will get a free high spec air quality monitor that measures CO2, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, temperature and relative humidity. Teachers and pupils will be able to access their data through a specially designed interactive web app, to see how air quality changes over the course of hours, days or weeks and months.

SAMHE (pronounced ‘sammy’) is a collaboration between five UK universities: University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University of York (through the Stockholm Environment Institute’s York centre), University of Surrey, University of Leeds and the UK Health Security Agency.

The project started to take shape a year ago when the researchers began discussing the idea. Funding was acquired from the Department for Education and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the next step was to work with a number of Co-Design schools to design the project. In November of last year SAMHE entered Beta testing with 120 Pioneer Schools helping test and refine the Web App.

Elangeni School, part of the Pioneer Schools programme described their experience: ‘The SAMHE monitor and app have provided our Y4/5 science group with a wealth of data to interrogate and analyse. The children’s enthusiasm has been infectious and there is tangible excitement at being able to access the data in real time at home!’

Dr Sarah West (schools engagement lead for SAMHE), from the Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York. said: ‘The input of teachers and pupils has been critical to ensuring that the SAMHE meets schools’ needs and is fun and engaging for pupils.’

SAMHE has grown out of an earlier project: Project CO-TRACE which was a collaboration between the Universities of Cambridge, Surrey and Imperial College London, who worked together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools through monitoring and evaluation of mitigation measures. 
Interested schools should register at: 


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