More than 80 delegates from academia (69%), industry (17%) and government (14%), across 9 countries (and 17 time zones!) joined the workshop via the Zoom and Sococo online platforms. With 12 keynote speakers, 12 short talks and 6 posters, the topic of cleaning and decontamination was discussed to capture the state-of-the-art, current industrial and societal challenges, as well as future needs.
The breakout discussion groups reflected on the importance of cleaning and decontamination across a broad range of applications, realising that translation of knowledge, know-how and expertise is key to making progress in this highly interdisciplinary field.
Cleaning and decontamination applications rely on common underlying physical and chemical principles, which span many disciplines: from chemistry to fluid mechanics, chemical and mechanical engineering, microbiology, toxicology. The mathematics involved range from modelling the phenomena to quantifying the risk associated with sampling and inadequate performance.
The workshop also highlighted the importance of better communication between workers from different disciplines, or between researchers and practitioners, as technical jargon can quickly become a hurdle. Beyond experts and practitioners, the workshop also identified the need for effective communication for the general public as well as decision makers. Cleaning and decontamination are embedded in many aspects of our daily lives, with significant impacts on the environment, commercial and government operations, and human health. Therefore, improvements in the complex science behind cleaning can only be effective with the help of everyone.
This workshop was successful in helping to bridge the communication gap, and identify the needs and challenges across sectors practising regular cleaning and decontamination. The organisers and delegates are now tasked with summarizing the key learnings from the material and discussions, identifying strategic needs and preparing the roadmap for future work on the quantitative understanding and modelling of cleaning and decontamination.
A follow-up event in September 2021 at Jesus College, Cambridge, will finalise the roadmap and implement the findings of the workshop. The workshop Organisers wish to acknowledge the financial support of EPSRC and the excellent technical support from ICMS.