Going Underground - Human Health Risks from Pathogens in the Soil-Water Env

An Inception Meeting was held in Sheffield on 29th May 2007 for a new interdisciplinary working group hosted by the University of Sheffield, led by Profs. Steve Banwart (C-MI Programme, Sheffield) and Louise Heathwaite (CSWM, Lancaster). The 'Going Underground' project brings academics from the universities of Sheffield, Lancaster, Aberystwyth and Liverpool together with experts from the Environment Agency, IGER and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

The project aims to assess the critical research needs in identifying and predicting human health risks from pathogens in soils, sediments and water resources. This complex, interdisciplinary environmental problem is subject to a broad range of dynamic control factors in the face of changing climate, land use, flood risk, water management and emerging pathogens. The potential effects, in terms of human health risks, are incompletely understood and objective of the Going Underground project is to isolate the key gaps in the knowledge and propose the collaborative research programmes required to address them.

The project supports a Research Assistant (Jonathan Bridge, Sheffield) to co-ordinate a critical review of the current state of knowledge and faciliate three focused workshops to take place in November, January and May 2007-2008. The workshops will target key experts from across the disciplines of agricultural and soil sciences, catchment science, microbial epidemiology, medical statistics and public health. Going Underground is a collaborative working group funded under the Joint Research Councils Environment and Human Health Programme. Further information and contact details can be found on the project website: