Special Offers & Promotions



Latest News



View Channel

New Products



View Channel

Video Presentations



View Channel

Separation Science



View Channel

Microscopy & Image Analysis



View Channel

Laboratory Automation & IT Solutions



View Channel


£13m disease early warning system for England to open at University of Bath

publication date: Feb 7, 2024
author/source: University of Bath



Water-based community health monitoring Centre of Excellence will detect disease outbreaks

A new £13 million Centre of Excellence in water-based health monitoring is set to be established at the University of Bath following a major funding award.

The Centre of Excellence in Water-Based Early-Warning Systems for Health Protection, WBE@Bath, will develop a public health surveillance system to detect outbreaks of diseases by testing water systems for traces of pathogens or other biomarkers at a community level.

This could help prevent future pandemics from spreading by detecting them early, and will provide better understanding of chronic, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.

An £8.4 million investment in the Centre was announced this week by Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation. The full cost of the project will total £13 million including contributions from the University of Bath and partners.


Cutting-edge facilities will build talent pool

As well as an ‘Urban Living Lab’, the Centre will host state-of-the-art analytical capabilities including a digital water-sensing platform, training base and testing infrastructure designed to provide low-cost and real-time community-wide profiling of population health and the environment.

Five prize fellow positions and a doctoral training partnership will also be created through the project, increasing the skills and expertise base while diversifying talent.

Professor Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern, a co-director of Bath’s Water Innovation Research Centre and a member of the University’s Institute for Sustainability, will lead the Centre. She says: “We’re delighted to have received this funding to expand the work of WBE@Bath, as well as our capability to train and bring new talent into the sector.

“COVID-19 demonstrated how the successful management of disease outbreaks is critically dependent on real-time, cost-effective and comprehensive surveillance systems enabling testing of whole communities, irrespective of location.

“Our previous research has shown the transformative potential of using wastewater-based epidemiology to carry out this testing in locations such as water recycling centres. These techniques could give us a crucial tool in detecting future epidemics before they happen.

“We will build a unique, full scale urban living lab that will enable testing of new approaches and tools aimed at better understanding of how diseases spread, the risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals and how to develop more effective interventions and management strategies.”


Centre to be designed with partners

The Centre will be designed with input from Bath’s longstanding partners including Wessex Water, the UK Health Security Agency, Arup, the Environment Agency, The London Data Company, AWS, Waters and The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Trust and Bath & North-East Somerset Council. The project’s partner universities are Newcastle, Cardiff, Exeter, Glasgow, Stellenbosch (South Africa) and Lagos (Nigeria), and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

The funding is part of a £156 million investment by Research England’s Expanding Excellence in England (E3) Fund, which will support 18 universities across England to expand their small, but outstanding research units.

Dr Steven Hill, Director of Research at Research England, says: “Our investment will also help to reinforce the contribution of HEPs to their region through strategic local partnerships, focusing on sharing resources and infrastructure and generating local impact, backed by robust institutional leadership.

“We’re excited to see how these units develop over the next five years.”

Earlier this month, a new Centre of Doctoral Training designed to improve the health of the UK’s rivers and lakes, also to be led by Prof Kasprzyk-Hordern, was announced. The two investments will strengthen Bath’s capacity in world-leading research, training and cutting-edge infrastructure.

The Centre of Excellence will draw on the expertise of staff from Bath’s Departments of Chemical Engineering, Electronic & Electrical Engineering, Architecture & Civil Engineering, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences and Psychology.



The University of Bath 

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities for high-impact research with a reputation for excellence in education, student experience and graduate prospects. 

We are named ‘University of the Year’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, and ranked among the world’s top 10% of universities, placing 148th in the QS World University Rankings 2024. We are ranked 5th in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2024, 6th in the Guardian University Guide 2024 and 8th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024. 

Bath is rated in the world’s top 10 universities for sport in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2023. We produce some of the world’s most job-ready graduates and were named University of the Year for Graduate Jobs by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024, as well as ranking as one of the world’s top 90 universities for employer reputation according to the QS World University Rankings 2024.

Research from Bath is helping to change the world for the better. Across the University’s three Faculties and School of Management, our research is making an impact in society, leading to low-carbon living, positive digital futures, and improved health and wellbeing.



Subscribe to any of our newsletters for the latest on new laboratory products, industry news, case studies and much more!

Newsletters from Lab Bulletin


Request your free copies HERE




Popular this Month

Top 10 most popular articles this month



Today's Picks



Looking for a Supplier?

Search by company or by product


Company Name:






Please note Lab Bulletin does not sell, supply any of the products featured on this website. If you have an enquiry, please use the contact form below the article or company profile and we will send your request to the supplier so that they can contact you directly.

Lab Bulletin is published by newleaf marketing communications ltd.


Media Partners


Exhibitions & Events