Blue Environments & Health

The opportunities that oceans, rivers and other water based environments present to human health and wellbeing are now increasingly understood and valued globally thanks to the work of teams at ECEHH.

Amongst the many projects of note are The Blue Communities Project, an interdisciplinary international multi-partner collaboration in SE Asia and The Blue Health project, a pan-European research initiative that investigated the links between urban blue spaces, climate and health.

The value of the multiple and varied research projects undertaken by the interdisciplinary team at ECEHH in the area of Blue Health is evident in the growing impact on policy makers locally, nationally and internationally.

The following represents the diversity of interdisciplinary activity undertaken by our teams.


Blue Communities Launches Legacy Website

The Blue Communities programme, funded by the UK Government’s Global Challenge Research Fund from 2017-2022 produced significant outputs and on-going partnerships with researchers in Southeast Asia. The outputs from the…

Research project

BlueAdapt- a Horizon Europe project to study how Climate Change impacts on Coastal Pathogens to affect Human Health

OCTOBER 2022-2026 The impact of climate change on health risks due to pathogens in the environment, specifically in our coastal waters is being investigated by this £8.7 million Horizon Europe…


New exploration into the complex relationship between oceans and human health launches on World Ocean Day

World Ocean Day has been chosen for the launch of Oceans and Human Health: Opportunities and Impacts – a collaboration of more than 100 authors exploring the interconnected and complex…


Exeter experts welcome High Seas Treaty

Ocean researchers from the University of Exeter have welcomed the United Nations High Seas Treaty. After negotiations that began more than a decade ago, the treaty will protect areas that…


Study identifies best visits to “blue” nature spots for wellbeing boost

A new study has identified what factors give the biggest wellbeing boost when visiting nature spots near water. The research concludes that visits to coastal areas and rural rivers give…


Final Symposium for the GCRF Blue Communities programme

Registration is open for the Final Symposium for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Blue Communities programme which will be taking place online from 08:00-10:30 GMT (09:00-11:30 CET; 15:00-17:30 ICT/Vietnam/WIB/Jakarta…


Coastal Living benefits from Exeter University research highlighted in UK Chief Medical Officer's Report

Research on the health benefits of coastal living will be highlighted to Government after University of Exeter experts authored a chapter for the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report. The academics warn that these benefits must not be taken for granted in the face of mounting environmental and social pressures.

Research project

MEDMI - Big Data for Weather, Climate and Public Health

Research into the links between human health and the environment is  becoming ever more essential to develop interventions and policies that will protect lives and the wellbeing of populations now and in the future. Public health researchers face an ongoing challenge of accessing and linking human health and weather and climate data.

Research project

GCRF Blue Communities

Blue Communities is a 4 year research capacity-building programme for marine planning in East and South-East Asia, funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund. The programme has 12 interconnected research projects, which will be actively integrated to support marine planning, and 10 cross-cutting capacity building activities.


Cruise ships must be effectively regulated to minimise serious environment and health impact

The cruise ship industry should be subject to global monitoring and effective legislation because of its continuous increasing impact on both the environment and human health and wellbeing, according to new research from an international team.

Research project


The BlueHealth project brought together a multi-disciplinary consortium to investigate how aquatic environments affect the health of Europe’s population.


Transforming a run-down waterside park led to higher wellbeing in Plymouth community

Transforming a run-down waterside park in Plymouth into a high-quality open air theatre and play area has led to higher wellbeing and life satisfaction among residents and visitors, new research shows.


Visiting water bodies worth £700bn to economies, study finds

Europeans spend more than £700 billion (€800bn) a year on recreational visits to water bodies – but perceived poor water quality costs almost £90 billion (€100bn) in lost visits, a new study has found.


Virtual reality nature environments offer an opportunity for people with memory loss

Blue Health researchers from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health have published the results of their study looking at the acceptability of virtual reality (VR) natural environments among people with memory loss.


NHS Ocean launched

NHS Ocean launched successfully earlier this year with the aim of conserving and protecting coastal and marine ecosystems through minimising harm resulting from the procurement and delivery of healthcare, whilst increasing awareness of the benefits to human health and wellbeing from healthy seas, coasts, and waterways.

Research project

Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe

A pan-European initiative to coordinate research into the links between the marine environment and human health.

Research project

Virtual blue spaces for psychological wellbeing

Using virtual reality to explore how beaches and coasts might improve psychological wellbeing.

Research project

Does living by the coast improve health and wellbeing?

This internationally acclaimed study used data from the UK’s census to show that people are more likely to have good health if they live closer to the sea.


Blue Communities heads to Asia

International partners kick-off their ambitious four-year plan to boost the health and wellbeing of coastal communities in SE Asia.


SOPHIE website launched

Designed to encourage debate between different sectors, Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe (SOPHIE for short) will build a community of researchers and practitioners to explore the links between our oceans and our health.


Blue Health

BlueHealth is a pan-European research initiative that investigated the links between urban blue spaces, climate and health. It combined interdisciplinary approaches to examine how wellbeing might be promoted through the development of blue infrastructure and continues to inform the design, planning and management of accessible and quality blue spaces.


Blue Communities

Blue Communities is supporting the development, implementation and ongoing management of initiatives that promote the sustainable use of marine resources by multiple users, whilst protecting the fragile marine ecosystems and supporting the livelihoods food security, health and well-being of the people in these coastal communities.