New partnerships to tackle health and environmental issues

We’ve awarded four new research partnerships a total of £29m to tackle global environmental and health challenges.

Semarang City, Indonesia.

Credit: Unsplash/Arwan Sutanto

One of the new partnerships is to investigate how nature-based solutions can improve sanitation in informal urban settlements in Indonesia and Fiji.

The scientists – from Australia, South America and the UK – are receiving the funding as part of Wellcome’s £75m commitment to population and planetary health. 

Two of the partnerships will focus on the health challenges of diverse urban environments. 

  • Professor Ana Diez Roux, at Drexel University in the USA, will study the links between health and the physical, natural and economic environments in highly urbanised Latin America. 
  • Prof Rebekah Brown, at Monash University in Australia, will investigate how nature-based solutions can help to improve the sanitation and environment of people living in informal urban settlements in Fiji and Indonesia. 

The other two partnerships will focus on food systems and choices. 

  • Prof Charles Godfray, at Oxford University, will look at the environmental and health impacts of animal-sourced food, mainly in the UK, and what their future could look like. 
  • Prof Alan Dangour, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, will build on work we’ve already funded to explore what factors form sustainable and healthy food systems in India and South Africa. 

To ensure the outputs of the projects can be translated into practical solutions and policies, the researchers are working with other organisations, including Sainsbury’s and the Asian Development Bank. 

"The diversity of these partnerships reflect how wide-ranging the issues of planetary health are," says Dr Sarah Molton, who leads Wellcome’s work in this area. 

"There are so many factors that need to be addressed if we are to create a healthy and sustainable future. These major research programmes bring together collaborators from all over the world to explore how we can create health, not just prevent disease, while being responsible custodians of the planet."

The new partnerships are the first major funding commitments since we made Our Planet, Our Health one of our priority areas in 2015. 

Find out more about the new partnerships.