Our planet is changing in ways that are unprecedented in human history, and which directly threaten human health. But these changes also bring opportunities to protect and improve health – if we can understand them and respond appropriately.
What we want to achieve
What is planetary health? Watch our animation to find out more.
Since 2015, we've supported a community of researchers who are taking on the challenges that food systems, increasing urbanisation and climate change pose to our health. We aim to stimulate research excellence and develop global collaborations to drive change.
If we're successful, the research we fund will provide strong evidence for action, which will lead policymakers, businesses and the public to make more informed decisions on things that affect the environment and health.
The areas we're focusing on:
Acting on climate change requires both primary prevention (ie reducing its effects on health – also known as mitigation), and preparedness and response (ie adapting to its impact – also known as adaptation).
These responses must be designed and implemented to protect health as best we can, while also improving social equity. To do this, we'll need robust scientific evidence, and translation of that evidence in to policy and action.
We recently offered funding through the Climate Change and Health Awards for researchers who want to better understand the links between climate change and people’s health.
- funded a number of projects to understand how climate change is affecting the health of different populations around the world
- partnered with the Lancet to set up the Lancet Countdown(opens in a new tab), an international research collaboration that tracks global progress on climate change.
Global food system
With the world's population growing, current ways of producing food are unsustainable. And what we eat is also leading to problems: over- and undernutrition are major causes of illness around the world.
Wellcome is a founding partner of the EAT Foundation(opens in a new tab), which brings together scientists, businesses and policy makers to transform food systems and feed the world's growing population. We've also invested £10.3 million in two research partnerships looking at how to create healthier food systems.
As urban populations grow, so do rates of infectious disease, drug resistance, pollution and waste. But rapid urban growth also creates an opportunity: the chance to build a healthier living environment.
We've invested £17.8 million in research looking at how urban design and policy can improve health. Our research partnerships are investigating what makes cities healthy and environmentally sustainable, and how water management can be built into urban design.
We’re currently reviewing the Our Planet, Our Health programme strategy. As a result, we won’t be launching a planetary health funding call.
If you would like to discuss your research, or want to work with us, please contact a member of the team