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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T015608/1
Title: Accelerating the adoption of circular sanitation demonstration systems for improved health outcomes (ACTUATE)
Principal Investigator: Barker, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Green Advocacy Ghana (GreenAd) HATOF Foundation Nigerian Environmental Society
Umar Bun Hatab Islamic Basic School University of Benin
Department: Lancaster Environment Centre
Organisation: Lancaster University
Scheme: UKRI
Starts: 01 October 2019 Ends: 31 March 2021 Value (£): 704,277
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
14 Aug 2019 GCRF GRTA Panel19 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
ACTUATE will co-deliver two community-based pilot demonstration bioenergy systems in Ghana and Nigeria that will support an accelerated uptake of a safe circular water economy connecting waste, human health and energy, food and soil security. It will to grow transformational impact from the current Lancaster GCRF funded portfolio with West African partners and provide practical evidence that working with, in and for communities will deliver the most sustainable solutions for waste management in sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa generates thousands of tons of solid waste daily, most of which ends up in open dumps and wetlands, contaminating surface and ground water and posing major health hazards. Waste is culturally seen 'not in my backyard (NIMBY)' issue. The mindset of considering waste as a 'please in my backyard (PIMBY) philosophy is at its infancy, if exists at all. Most people do not know, hence undervalue, the energy, food production and soil enrichment potential of waste. They also are unaware of the health danger of invisible enemies such as drinking water and food contamination from poorly managed waste.

There is a critical need to show that small scale, off-grid bioenergy systems do work, that they are sustainable and are capable of delivering solutions to waste management, power generation, food and soil security and improve people's health and well-being in peri-urban/informal and rural communities. The demonstrator pilots will encompass the collection of waste materials, their sustained processing through AD and the realisation of product values. They will be integrated into 2 distinct community-based settings: a small, domestic system associated with a community school in Accra, Ghana and a larger university campus-based activity in UniBen, Nigeria. Evidence from the demonstration pilots will enable potential investors and policy makers in both Nigeria and Ghana to have the technical and social evidence and confidence that these systems can work in situ beyond the laboratory. They represent the first and vital step for our partner organisations (CGE Nigeria, UNiBen, CSIR and LU Ghana) to take a lead in commercially growing business opportunities through entrepreneurial leadership in this domain.

The ambition, objectives and workplan for ACTUATE emerge from Lancaster's deep engagement with researchers and research users in sub-Saharan Africa through several GCRF-funded research and capacity-building projects. Africa is a strategic priority for Lancaster which is currently the only UK University to have a campus on the continent. In addition to our long-standing partnership building in Ghana and Nigeria, Lancaster University has grown national leadership in eco-innovation - innovation supporting both business growth and the environment. It has the capacity to translate high quality research into "real world impacts" as demonstrated by Lancaster's double award-winning Centre for Global Eco-innovation (CGE) http://www.globalecoinnovation.org . CGE has demonstrated that eco-innovation can deliver positive benefits to both the economy and the environment and is fundamentally underpinned by the need for end-user driven research. At the heart of our eco-innovation vision for Africa is the needs to promote medium-to-long term economic growth that is both resilient to future climate and where possible able to mitigate the impact of environmental change.

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