Dr Douglas Booker

Dr Douglas Booker


I am a geographer and entrepreneur, with a focus on indoor air quality and environmental justice. I have an interdisciplinary background, with a BSc in Politics and History from Brunel University London, an MSc in Public Policy from University College London, and a PhD in Geography from Lancaster University “(Re)assembling air quality science: exploring air quality knowledge production.” I completed my PhD under the supervison of Professor Gordon Walker and Dr Paul Young, where I drew on the natural and social sciences to combine the doing of air quality science (including a UK nationwide schools indoor air quality monitoring campaign, and a citizen science project), with a critical reflection on how air quality knowledge is produced, and its implications for claims of environmental justice. I remain an Honorary Researcher at Lancaster University 

Alongside my Lectureship in Indoor Air, I run NAQTS, a Lancaster Environment Centre collocated business that develops tools and technologies to provide holistic indoor air quality information. In this role I have collaborated on and led multiple industry-academic research projects and partnerships, with universities, other businesses, trade associations, public health professionals, and the general public. I am also a UKRI Regional Clean Air Champion as part of the SPF Clean Air Programme, a £42.5m investment supporting research and innovation. In this role I help to bring together research across engineering, atmospheric, medical, and social science to develop practical and fair solutions for air quality challenges. As part of my Regional Clean Air Champion position I hold Visiting Academic status at the University of Southampton in the Faculty of Medicine.

Research interests

My research interests lie in diverse aspects of indoor air quality (IAQ), usually involving a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. These can be broadly categorised into two themes: IAQ and environmental justice, and IAQ and energy.

  1. Indoor air quality and environmental justice: Considerable evidence has been generated showing unequal patterns of outdoor air quality for different social groups. However, much less evidence exists for IAQ. I am interested in a variety of environmental justice (EJ) focused approaches to improving IAQ, including uncovering unequal distributions of IAQ, but also looking at the social, political, and economic mechanisms through which unequal distributions of poor IAQ are created and sustained. The latter point relates to broader conceptions of EJ that considers notions of justice such as procedure, recognition, capabilities, and epistemics. Recent research in this space includes 1) a citizen science project working with a community group in Liverpool to measure indoor and outdoor ultrafine particles; and 2) a project developing an equity-focused approach to improve IAQ, which has included working with a social housing provider to improve respiratory child health outcomes through combining IAQ measurements with a focus on tenant rights and empowerment, structural and behavioural causes of poor IAQ, and locating initiatives within a community approach.
  2. Indoor air quality and energy: Managing IAQ and energy efficiency in the built environment is critical to both safeguard people’s health and wellbeing and meet our net zero targets. IAQ and energy are often portrayed as a dichotomy: effective ventilation provision, which involves bringing in outdoor air, is a key strategy to improve IAQ. However, energy efficiency often requires higher levels of air tightness to prevent heat loss which can result in air pollution getting trapped indoors. I am interested in understanding how this dichotomy manifests in a range of different indoor settings and how different people and organisations are attempting to manage it, and how approaches to mitigate injustices in the energy and air quality spheres can coalesce. Recent research in this space includes 1) combining widespread indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring in schools, with interviews with school staff to understand how trade-offs between IAQ and energy efficiency are managed; and 2) simulating cooking scenarios in a specialised test facility to examine trade-offs between using ventilation to improve IAQ, and subsequent energy penalties from heat-loss.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Geography, Lancaster University (2024)
  • MSc in Public Policy, University College London (2016)
  • BSc (Hons) in Politics & History, Brunel University London (2014)

Professional memberships

  • Institute of Environmental Sciences
  • Institute of Air Quality Management
  • UK Indoor Environments Group

Research groups and institutes

  • Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering
  • Energy Leeds
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>