New €2 Million Project Launched on Oceans and Human Health Links

The European Union is investing €2 million in a new initiative designed to coordinate research into the complex links between the marine environment and human health and wellbeing.

Led by the University of Exeter Medical School and funded by Horizon 2020, the Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe (SOPHIE) project launches in December 2017 and will run for 2.5 years.

SOPHIE will deliver a clear road map for the future direction of Oceans and Human Health research in Europe, and builds on ongoing work at the University of Exeter to improve understanding of the impacts that environments such as ‘blue spaces’ can have on health and wellbeing. It will also develop and foster a network of diverse stakeholders from across Europe involved in Oceans and Human Health, and create a legacy that will advance this field across the world beyond the end of the project.

Dr Christine Domegan, Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, said, “Every person in Europe has a stake in promoting and protecting the benefits to health and wellbeing provided by the marine environment and marine ecosystem services, whether it is high on their agenda or not. Stakeholders and their engagement has have never been more important in an increasingly interconnected world. SOPHIE will ensure that all voices are heard.”

The project will explore the complex interplay between the health of the marine environment and that of humans, and through a series of forums and events, aims to build a community of researchers and practitioners from two traditionally distinct groups; marine and maritime specialists; and the medical and public health sector. SOPHIE includes members from academia, small- and medium-sized businesses, and government, with the team holding particular expertise in developing and implementing public health and environmental policies.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 774567. Further information will be available when the project begins.

The full list of partners is: