Environment

Bucks is undertaking environmental research through a number of European and International projects relating to conservation and sustainability.

SOCLIMPACT is a 4.5 million innovation action project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 scheme. As part of the decarbonisation portfolio, SOCLIMPACT models climate change effects and their socioeconomic impacts in European islands for 2030–2100. Decarbonisation is the reduction or removal of greenhouse gas emissions from energy sources. The increase in these gases have been linked to climate change. Smaller communities in European islands are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The project aims to develop climate projections, assessing impact, risk and vulnerability to the island communities.

The project examines how European islands and archipelagos can flourish economically alongside the EU's Blue Growth strategy for sustainable progress in the marine and maritime sectors. It is also looking at how economies will grow as decarbonisation develops, focusing on the Baltic islands, Malta, Sardinia, Madeira, Cyprus, Sicily, Crete, Corsica, Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and the Azores.

SOCLIMPACT is led by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and includes partners from Spain, Germany, the West Indies, France, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Malta, with representatives from the 12 EU islands and archipelagos. These representatives are experts and economic agents from the fields of maritime transport, fishing, aquaculture and tourism.

Professor Florin Ioras, Director of Research and Enterprise, is leading the Bucks New University team alongside Research Fellow Ioan Dutca and Research Associate Dr Indrachapa Bandara. The project started in October 2017 and will continue for four years, completing in August 2021.

Further information is available on the SOCLIMPACT project website. For news and recent developments, follow @soclimpact on Twitter.

SOCLIMPACT partners, 13 February 2018

The European Hub on New Challenges in the Field of Essential Oils, EOHUB, co-funded by the ERASMUS + Programme of the European Union under Knowledge Alliance call, will contribute to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, through stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation in the field of EOs, fitting within the EU 2020 strategy. It does so by providing a strong partnership between higher education institutions, their research departments, and business, making the knowledge triangle work in a relative new sector with increasing opportunities for research, innovation and economic growth. EOHUB aims to increase the capacity of higher education institutions and business to integrate research results and innovative practice into the educational offer, and to exploit the potential for marketable process, methods and services in the field of EOs. Moreover, it helps graduates and PhD students to develop new entrepreneurship activities and marketable services in line with their curricula, which too often remain only at the level of “theoretical applications” and “case studies”.

Its specific objectives are:

  • To develop and implementing a strong long term interaction scheme between enterprises and HE centres in the MAPs sector, facilitating the exchange among front runners researchers and business in the field of EOs
  • To identify successful Eos producers and transformers and projects to improve the know-how of the sector, promote best practice and credibility to the profession
  • To take advantage of the accumulated experience of the sector throughout the European environment by recording/implementing/standardizing/transferring it throughout the EOs sector.
  • To generate a sector-specific theoretical and practical syllabus essential for the specialization process of European EOs sector.
  • To develop a virtual learning environment that facilitates experiential learning and assessment constructively aligned with the learning objectives.
  • To enhance applied postgraduate education for consortium countries practitioners closer to a harmonized standard.
  • Increasing the capacity of higher education institutions, start-ups and business to exploit the potential for marketable process, methods and services, to promote sustainable businesses in the field of EOs.
  • To integrate entrepreneurship and innovation in the project not just as a source of knowledge, but also as a source of employment.

This project should lead to a new culture of working relationships among universities and enterprises.  In addition, true collaborative efforts with enterprises will provide students support from practical placement, entrepreneurship and employability. Finally, new and innovative learning and pedagogical approaches will be implemented to offer high quality education and graduates with a cultural, environmental and social identity.

The project started in January 2019 and will be completed by January 2022. The Kick-Off meeting was held in Madrid, from March 21th 2019 till March 22nd, 2019 with all partners participating (see photo below). Professor Florin Ioras and Dr Indrachapa Bandara are working on this project at Bucks.

Overall the consortium comprises of four universities, four companies, and one research centre from four countries (Spain, Hungary, Belgium and UK). Polytechnic University of Madrid is the coordinator of the project.

For more information is available on the EOHUB website and regular updates are available on

Funded by the Erasmus+ capacity building in Higher Education programme, INCAMP will develop an International Masters Module programme for the Carbon Neutral Management of Sport Marinas. INCAMP aims to trigger modernisation and reinforce education aligned to the needs and opportunities offered by traditional industries. It will provide, assess, and look for the recognition of basic skills needed in carbon management, waste and energy management, transport and logistics management. These skills will include entrepreneurship, foreign languages and digital competences.

Professor Florin Ioras co-ordinates this project with Bucks New University as lead partner, with partners in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Romania and Italy.

INCAMP Project meeting at Bucks New University, June 2019.

In partnership with Queensland University of Technology, Earth, Environment and Biological Sciences, Dr Richard Mather is working on this project with the aim of identifying a remote sensible signal for water deficit in the canopy of upland heath vegetation.

This project uses small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for remote sensing, providing complete coverage quickly and without physical impact on the areas of interest. Numerous projects have developed remote sensing tools for monitoring vegetation changes in areas with limited, sensitive or dangerous access employing visible and near-infra red spectra to identify green vegetation and bare ground. These methods are less practical for upland heath and swamp vegetation, as they are composed of predominantly perennial species that may be able to tolerate periods of drought.

The key outcome of this project is integration of thermal infrared imagery to give an instantaneous measure of plant water status by comparing air and canopy temperatures. Integrating thermal properties with visible imagery enhances interpretation of impact and rehabilitation targets.

The ability to simultaneously detect vegetation condition and water status as well as thermal radiation properties of surrounding landscape will open numerous opportunities for improved rehabilitation and early identification of hydraulically related impacts. If successfully demonstrated in this project, methods can be transferred to other environments, such as open cast spoil rehabilitation.

The mobility and speed of coverage possible with remote imagery allows production of high spatial and temporal resolution vegetation stress-maps to inform management decisions. The recent development of small sensors that are radiometrically calibrated and capture synchronised imagery in visible and thermal spectrums represents an excellent opportunity for developing environmental, rehabilitation and impact monitoring to address concerns of regulators and NGOs regarding hydrological patterns at site and landscape scales.

Field experimental sites will initially employ previously studied communities within the Newnes Plateau State Forest that overlie the Centennial Coal mine sites. These communities hold knowledge of historical conditions and availability of communities with clearly understood mining impact histories. The 18-month project is due to complete in August 2019.

Working with the University of Queensland, Dr Richard Mather, is developing an open source data-processing framework and a change-detection tool to map changes in vegetation and surface geology, a key priority for satisfying the operating conditions of underground mining operations.

The project is funded by The Australian Coal Industry’s Research Program (ACARP), in partnership with BIOSIS Research Pty Ltd.

Funded through the Erasmus + scheme, Professor Florin Ioras is leading development of an International Master’s programme for the Environmental Security Sector.

The project, which runs from November 2017 and until May 2020, comprises partners from the UK, Portugal, Spain, Estonia and Romania.