Community & Social Inequalities

As an interdisciplinary research centre, we are focused on addressing health and social inequalities through numerous local and global projects. Among our areas of focus are: digital inclusion; healthy homes and social housing; workplace equality; food security and its influence on nutrition and health; social prescribing, biodiversity and health as well as climate adaptation.

Our teams focus on public engagement as a core activity through all stages of the research process, ensuring that right from the early inception of ideas, individuals, communities, businesses, NGOs, public sector organisations and a wide range of related groups are involved in the development of the scope and aims of research.

The following research activities represent a snapshot of our work in this area.

Housing Technology and Health


Smartline Impact

In the UK, there are persistent and overlapping inequalities in health, housing and digital inclusion. Smartline has revealed valuable insights into the role that digital technologies could play to support health and wellbeing through improved housing and social connections.

Research project

SenseWell: Using Sensors to Support Independent Living

A feasibility study investigating whether sensors in homes can help to identify health risks and changing conditions, to support independent living at home.​​ Can sensors identify changing health conditions?​ Should sensors be…


Film showcases how sensor technology can support social housing providers

In the UK, including here in Cornwall, there are persistent and overlapping inequalities in health, housing and digital inclusion. Smartline set out to explore the role that digital technologies could play to support health and wellbeing through improved housing and social connections. This film explores the project.


Energy efficient homes linked to asthma

New research shows the drive for energy efficient homes could increase asthma risks, as residents fail to heat and ventilate their properties.

Research project


Smartline was a multi-partner research project looking at how technology can be used to help us live healthier and happier lives.


Discussing the success of the collaboration between the Smartline Project and Coastline Housing

Smartline brings together an interdisciplinary team of epidemiologists, economists, geographers, mathematicians, data scientists, and sociologists. The research fits into themes linked to understanding technology readiness, healthy homes and the potential for business innovation to improve health and wellbeing.

Case study

Examining links between health and housing

This research-business partnership is working with Cornish companies Coastline Housing and Carnego Systems to use cutting edge technology to understand how resident behaviour can affect indoor air quality in our homes.


What is Smartline

An animated whiteboard illustrating the importance of the 300 Coastline Housing residents and how they support The Smartline project



Big firms are failing to reduce unconscious bias against disabled people

A study funded through the Inclusivity Project has shown that working for a big company or in an HR role does not lower the likelihood of showing unconscious bias against…

Research project

Sensing Climate

2023-2028 The climate crisis is affecting everyday life. It’s asking many of us – human and otherwise – to cope in the face of more frequent heat waves, droughts, floods…


Prestigious European research grant set to fund project on disability-inclusive climate adaptation

A new project focused on disability-inclusive climate adaptation is set to be launched following successful applications to a prestigious annual European funding programme. The University of Exeter will receive a…


Childhood poverty impacts wellbeing in middle-age, study shows

Experiencing poverty in childhood has a particular impact on wellbeing in adulthood around middle-age, according to new research. A new study conducted by the Smartline Project at the European Centre…


University of Exeter contributes to ‘invisible disabilities’ parliamentary report

Members of the University of Exeter’s Inclusivity Project have contributed to a parliamentary briefing that highlights the challenges faced by people with invisible disabilities in education and work. Dr Daniel…

Research project

The Inclusivity Project

An innovation project aiming to increase diversity, wellbeing and prosperity within small, Cornish businesses.

Community engagment


Public Engagement

We've established the Health and Environment Public Engagement public user group to engage with the Centre's work, helping to steer and review research.


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.


Peninsula Forum for Environment and Human Health 2022: Harnessing the power of community engagement in research

This year’s Peninsula Forum put a spotlight on the power of community engagement when used as part of world class research


Peninsula Forum - a successful event celebrating a decade of community solutions to benefit nature and heath

As the European Centre for Environment and Human Health celebrates its 10th anniversary, the second in our series of Peninsula Forum events showcased the work of academics and collaborating partners.

Research project

Nature on Prescription Handbook

This handbook is the culmination of detailed evidence gathering through evidence review, interviews and workshops with people and organisations involved in providing green social prescribing.

Case study

Research partnership brings multiple benefits

Working with two community interest companies, this research partnership is providing a powerful way to examine how natural environments can affect children’s health and wellbeing.


Views of Cornish young people influence G7 leaders

Young people from Cornwall have formed part of an official youth engagement group for The G7 and Masters Graduate from the European Centre for Environment and Human, Emily Stevenson, was invited to support them in sharing their views with world leaders.


Collaboration is key to research impact

In this video Professor Emma Bland describes why collaboration with local stakeholders is vital in supporting the work of ECEHH.

Community food

Research project

Caribbean foodscapes

Understanding how historical data of Caribbean foodscapes can inform policy and improve nutrition and health. This project focused on the historical and epidemiological transitions in urban Caribbean foodscapes and aims to understanding the past to enhance future healthy eating practices.

Research project

Community food and health

Establishing a research programme to evaluate community food production initiatives.


How food system and human health are integrally linked

Dr.Emily Haynes explains in this film why 'Think Global Act Local' matters with an example from Fijian colleagues.


Working with communities is vital to food security

In this clip, Professor Connie Guell describe the importance of public engagement to The European Centre for Environment and Human Health.