Not to be sneezed at

The University of Worcester is planning to build a new £7m allergy and aerobiology test centre at its National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit (NPARU).

NPARU, established at Worcester 1995, was founded to study and tackle environmental aspects of asthma, hayfever, and airborne allergens such as pollen and house dust mite both indoor and outdoors.

The expansion will allow the specialist unit, which provides the UK’s pollen forecast, to expand its work, which will include increased consultancy for regional businesses.

The Unit will be built alongside its existing research facilities at the University’s St John’s campus, and will link in with other areas of study, including applied sciences, sports and motion analysis. New areas of combined study will include microbiology and research into eye allergies and wound care.

Plans for the two-storey facility include a climate controlled room capable of testing product and the effects of illnesses such as asthma in different environmental conditions, a training suite and cleanrooms for a range of forensic and microbiology work.

Prof Jean Emberlin, Director of NPARU, said: ‘There is a strong emphasis on air quality and health, something which we are only too aware of with illnesses such as asthma having a very high prevalence in the UK. This proposed new facility promises to be a unique opportunity to expand our work, especially investigating links between allergic diseases and environmental factors.’

Plans for the facility have been submitted to Worcester City Council and are due to be discussed later this month.