Researchers win Horizon Europe grant to investigate links between health and climate change

Lynn Kaack and Slava Jankin are members of the CATALYSE international research consortium.

Hertie School researchers and the CATALYSE international research consortium are the recipients of Horizon Europe funding from the European Commission. They aim to investigate the links between environmental harms and potential health crises in Europe, and create new digital tools that will help policy-makers make better decisions.

Slava Jankin and Lynn Kaack lead CATALYSE at the Hertie School

Slava Jankin, Professor of Data Science and Public Policy and Director of the Hertie School Data Science Lab, is the principle investigator and coordinator of the development of innovative surveillance tools such as an early warning system (EWS) and predictive models. He leads four tasks at the Hertie School, which include using EWS to predict extreme weather, such as heat waves, to determine the impact for specific illnesses, and to monitor and track perceptions of health and harms of climate change.

“There is a need for innovative tools to identify, monitor, forecast and predict impacts of climate-change-induced environmental hazards on human health,” says Jankin. “Recent advances in machine learning methods, combined with increasing volume, variety and quality of data streams, allow for the development of innovative digital surveillance tools fit for agile decision making by public authorities and other users.” These new technologies are powerful tools that can be used to progress towards climate change mitigation targets, according to Jankin.

Lynn Kaack, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy, who is also affiliated with the Hertie School Data Science Lab, spearheads the fourth task on developing predictive models for cycling in urban areas. While people generally believe that cycling helps reduce air pollution, there is little data on cycling usage for urban planners.

“In my task, we will combine new and more granular datasets, such as those from bike sharing services, with modern data analysis to obtain a better picture of where cyclists are actually going, and where new infrastructure would bring the most benefit,” says Kaack. The idea is to build data-driven predictive models that help policymakers make better decisions to serve public needs.

European institutions will investigate links between health and climate change

The goal of CATALYSE, which stands for “Climate action to advance a healthy society in Europe”, is to provide new knowledge, data and innovative tools on: the relationships between changes in environmental hazards caused by climate change, ecosystems, and human health; the health co-benefits of climate action; the role of health evidence in decision making; and the societal implications of climate change for health systems. The entire project is funded with 10.35 million euros, of which the Hertie School will receive 975,000 euros. The funding period runs from 1 September 2022 until 30 June 2027.

Around 20 institutions are involved in the project, including ISGlobal, Umea University, Max Planck Society, Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, the University of Zurich, University College London, the University of Birmingham, the University of Porto and the University of Oxford.

Find out more about CATALYSE.


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