Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Development of novel assessments for indoor air quality monitoring and impact on children's health

Project Description

LEARN aims to evaluate the air quality and levels of exposure of children in schools in three different countries (Denmark,  Belgium and  Greece),  where cohorts of children in the range of 9 to 12 years old will be recruited. Start-of-the-art technologies will be used to characterize indoor and outdoor air pollution and evaluate the exposure and behavioral effects of air pollutants in children attending school. Novel sensors will be developed related to ultrafine particles and volatile organic compounds, and IoT connected air purifiers will be installed to reduce and remediate indoor air pollution. Deeper insights into the effects and mechanism of air pollutants will be collected by performing in vitro and in vivo assessments of toxicity, C.elegans will be used as a biosensor for indoor air quality and novel organ-on-a-chip models of lung and skin will be developed and applied. The societal impact of the project will be maximized through deliberative policy-making processes on health promotion strategies with stakeholders from the cohorts.

Role of SMIT

SMIT is leading the work on Communication, Dissemination and Valorisation in the LEARN project. It is responsible for setting up participatory policy-making processes with the stakeholders of the schools in Belgium, Greece and Denmark. With this task, guidelines and recommendations are formulated by the school’s community for developing adequate policies on indoor air quality for vulnerable groups. Furthermore, VUB will also support the development of the LEARN toolkit which aims to raise awareness about indoor air quality in an accessible, and fun way. The toolkit shares information, guidelines and training materials about how indoor health and well-being can be protected and promoted. The toolkit is targeted at children, parents and caretakers (teachers, headmaster, supporting staff, etc.). Last, VUB will also perform an assessment of the subjective indoor air quality during the clinical trials that capture “complaints” and “compliments” about indoor air quality.


LEARN is also one of the 6 projects that take part in the Indoor Air Quality and Health (IDEAL) cluster, whose aim is to optimise synergies, avoid overlaps and increase the impact of the projects selected for funding from the call HORIZON-HLTH-2021-ENVHLTH-02-02