Our planet, our health
We're committed to understanding and tackling the threat to our health posed by a dramatically changing world. We also want to ensure that any solutions protect, nurture and sustain our planet.
Our planet, our health has been a strategic priority for us since late 2015.
Why it's a priority for us
Our health is closely linked to the environment we live in. But we're placing too many demands on our planet. Natural systems that we rely on – from clean air to fresh water, biodiversity to a stable climate – are under threat.
As researchers discover more links between our health and the environment, we become better equipped to come up with ways to reduce these threats. There are already opportunities for change, but more research and action is needed.
We're well placed to act, because:
- we're an established and respected funder of population and other health research
- our independence, global reach and existing expert networks allow us to start conversations, and make partnerships (eg bringing together researchers, policymakers, business and the public).
What we're doing
We're focusing on the following four connected areas, where we believe we can make a real difference.
Building an interdisciplinary research community
We're working to build links between different types of researchers around the world, to take on planetary health challenges.
Since 2013 we've supported 15 pilot projects to investigate the connections between environment and health.
Building on these pilots, we're now planning to support up to five major interdisciplinary research programmes that will focus on global food systems and urbanisation. We'll announce the first of these in 2016. We’re aiming to announce what the phase of research funding looks like in late spring 2017.
We'll also help to create a community of practice, eg:
- running research network meetings which bring together people we fund and other stakeholders who work in the field or related areas
- helping researchers share stories and information.
Creating partnerships across sectors
We're identifying where we can work with other organisations. Together, we can achieve more than we could alone.
Our partnerships include:
- the EAT Foundation, which we launched with the Stordalen Foundation and Stockholm Resilience Centre to improve industry and policy engagement with science. It has the ambitious aim to change the way we feed the world.
- support for the Lancet Commission's 'Countdown to 2030' report into climate change, public health responses, and how society adapts.
We want research to inform policy, and be used when it offers solutions to global health challenges.
Our approach will include:
- starting and supporting discussions about how to improve the world's ability to respond.
- providing policy advice.
Engaging the public
We'll work to involve the public in:
- framing research questions
- coming up with the best ways to answer those questions,
- helping to test and communicate the results of research.
We'll also start conversations about how the planet and our health are connected. For example, we're leading The Crunch: a public engagement and education initiative about the global connections between our food, our health and our planet.
What we want to achieve
Our first aim is to establish the community of researchers who'll investigate the connections between our environment and our health.
Their work will help us develop and set ambitious targets.
We want to show that:
- having strong evidence about urbanisation and food systems helps policymakers make better decisions
- we have a greater impact when we work with other leading organisations.
We also want to ensure the public are engaged with, and part of, the decisions that societies need to make to sustain our health and our planet's health.
Our advisory panel and funding committee
All of our work is supported by experts.
Our advisory panel provides guidance on the development of the initiative.
Professor Lord John Krebs Kt, MA, Dphil, FRS, FmedSci, Hon DSc (Chair)
Honorary Fellow and Former Principal of Jesus College and Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Sir John Beddington, CMG, KBE, FRS, FRSE, HonFREng
Professor of Natural Resource Management and Senior Adviser to the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University
Alan J Brown, FSIP
Professor Bryan Grenfell, OBE, FRS
Kathryn Briger and Sarah Fenton Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Public Affairs, Princeton University
Professor Dame Anne Johnson MD, FMedSci, FRCP, FFPH, FRCGP
Professor of Infectious Disease, UCL
Professor David Tilman
Regents' Professor and McKnight Presidential Chair in Ecology at the University of Minnesota
The Our Planet, Our Health funding committee helps us to make funding decisions.
If you have any questions, contact the team:
People we've funded
Many of our grantholders carry out research in this area. See our directory: