Enhancing Air Quality Monitoring: A Case Study of Eloise Marais’ Research in Residence Journey with the Catapult

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In 2017, Eloise Marais was awarded funding to become a Researcher in Residence (RiR), supported by the Satellite Applications Catapult. This case study explores Eloise’s collaboration with the Satellite Applications Catapult, focusing on the development of the TRACE (Tool for Recording and Assessing the City Environment project, which aims to transform Earth Observations of atmospheric composition into information about air quality by making use of the extensive global and decades-long record of Earth observations.


Eloise Marais, a Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Quality at University College London (UCL), leads the UCL Atmospheric Composition and Air Quality research group. Her research uses complex models and observations from space-based and ground-based platforms to understand the influence of human activity on air quality, atmospheric chemistry, ecosystems, and human health.

Collaborative Endeavours

Through the RiR programme, Eloise collaborated closely with the Satellite Applications Catapult. This partnership facilitated her in laying the foundation to develop a tool aimed at enhancing the capacity to monitor air quality in cities worldwide. The Catapult’s extensive stakeholder network played a crucial role in connecting Eloise with key industry partners and end-users.

Key Achievements: Eloise’s contributions resulted in significant outcomes:

  1. Market Understanding and Technology Transfer: The collaboration with the Catapult enabled Eloise to better understand the routes to market for air quality monitoring tools that use Earth observations. The Catapult also supported her in communicating her research to non-academics and navigating intellectual property issues.
  2. Follow-on Projects: Eloise secured follow-on funding from Defra (Clean Air Grant, and NE/R016518/1) for collaborative projects with Leicester City Council and the UK National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO). These projects focus on understanding air pollution sources and quantifying air pollutant emissions from agriculture.
  3. Knowledge Dissemination: Eloise actively engaged in disseminating her research, participating in the Copernicus Accelerator programme, and becoming a finalist in the Copernicus Masters Challenge. She joined the Satellite Applications Catapult ‘In-Orbit Podcast‘ to discuss Knowledge Exchange and the impact of her RiR award. Alongside this, Eloise has published several significant research papers, including:


Eloise Marais’ journey as a Researcher in Residence with the Satellite Applications Catapult highlights the impact of interdisciplinary collaboration on technological innovation. Her work laid the foundation for advancing the use of Earth Observations for air quality monitoring by making this valuable data accessible to a broader audience.

Eloise Marais reflected on her experience, stating: “The most rewarding outcomes for me during and after the RiR award is the professional relationship that I have established with the SAC that has led to follow-on projects working directly with the SAC to develop new datasets of air pollutant concentrations derived with Earth Observations”.