Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Dr Lydia Niemi

Institution: SAMS / UHI
Department / group: Environmental Research Institute

Research interests:

Research interests: emerging contaminants, analytical chemistry, environmental monitoring, environmental risk assessment, environmental impact of healthcare practices, wastewater treatment, water quality.

I am also interested in working with stakeholders across the environment, water and healthcare sectors in Scottish public agencies, science communication, and working at the science-policy interface to promote development of science-based policy in Scotland.

Career history:

2020 – present PDRA (Environmental Contamination and Ecological Health theme), and co-ordinator to the One Health Breakthrough Partnership
The One Health Breakthrough Partnership is a cross-sector group addressing pharmaceutical pollution in Scotland by improving healthcare, safeguarding the environment, informing legislation, and driving research and innovation. In this role, I will coordinate and deliver a Scottish Government funded project in collaboration with stakeholders across the healthcare and water sectors, including NHS Highland, Scottish Water, and the Scottish Environment Agency (SEPA).

2016 – 2020 PhD in Environmental Science, University of the Highlands and Islands; funded through the Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation Scholars Programme and in association with the Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW)

2013 – 2014 MSc (with distinction) in Environmental Analytical Chemistry, University of Aberdeen

2009 – 2013 BA (cum laude), the College of Wooster (Ohio, USA), major chemistry; awarded with the American Chemical Society’s Undergraduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry (2013) for undergraduate research and thesis.

Active research projects:

One Health Breakthrough Partnership –
The OHBP is working on a Scottish Government project (2020-present) to assess environmental pollution from pharmaceuticals, and develop sustainable solutions to reduce the environmental impact of healthcare practices. In collaboration with NHS Highland, Scottish Water, SEPA, and the Environmental Research Institute-UHI.

CREW baseline assessment of pharmaceuticals in the Scottish water environment –
This project (2018-2021) assessed published and regulatory monitoring datasets and created a national database of environmental monitoring data of pharmaceuticals in Scotland. A gap analysis and risk assessment was performed to assess knowledge gaps and potential environmental impact.

Recent publications:

Niemi, L., Landova, P., Taggart, M., Boyd, K., Zhang, Z., & Gibb, S. (2022). Spatiotemporal trends and annual fluxes of pharmaceuticals in a Scottish priority catchment. Environmental Pollution, 292, 118295.

Karin Helwig, Adeolu Aderemi, David Donnelly, Stuart Gibb, Lucyna Gozdzielewska, Jamie Harrower, Rachel Helliwell, Colin Hunter, Lydia Niemi, Eulyn Pagaling, Lesley Price, Joanne Roberts, Zulin Zhang (2021), Pharmaceuticals in the water environment – baseline assessment and recommendations. CRW2017/16.

Niemi, L., Taggart, M., Boyd, K., Zhang, Z., Gaffney, P. P. J., Pfleger, S., & Gibb, S. (2020). Assessing hospital impact on pharmaceutical levels in a rural ‘source-to-sink’ water system. Science of The Total Environment, 737, 139618.

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