New Director gets started at the European Centre

Posted on 1st July 2024

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health, which is dedicated to researching the crossover of the environment with human health has appointed a new director.

Professor Gesche Huebner has been appointed to lead the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health, based at the University’s Penryn campus in Cornwall.

Professor Huebner comes from her role as Associate Professor in Healthy & Sustainable Built Environments at the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy, and Resources at University College London, (UCL) where her research and teaching has focused on the intersections between energy, buildings, and health and wellbeing.

She has recently been awarded two significant research grants that bring an equity and climate change lens into focus, areas that has substantial research gaps. With her expertise in built environments, Professor Huebner aims to generate more evidence on how buildings and energy use impact on health and wellbeing especially for marginalized groups in a changing climate.

At UCL, she also served as Departmental Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion with important  actions including instigating mental health training for all those in key student facing roles. She has also done a lot of work around promoting open, transparent and reproducible science particularly in applied, multidisciplinary research areas.

Speaking of her appointment, Professor Huebner said: “I’m absolutely delighted to join Exeter’s European Centre of Environment and Human Health! The Centre is such a unique place, researching topics as diverse as blue and green spaces, food systems and antimicrobial resistance – all held together by the focus on health and the desire to create a better world. It’s only by going beyond disciplinary boundaries and working together that we can tackle the tremendous challenges we are facing, be it climate change, biodiversity loss or societal inequalities.

“My family and I feel very privileged that we get the opportunity to live in Cornwall, a place so rich in history and natural beauty even as it faces a number of challenges. We’re really looking forward to contributing to the local community both personally and professionally.”

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) has a world leading role in research into the connections between planetary and human health, having pioneered this area of work more than a decade ago. The Centre is now a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Natural Environments and Health, recognising the Centre’s significant contribution to science and policy-making as a result of more than a decade of interdisciplinary research.

Professor Sallie Lamb, Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter’s Faculty of Health and Life Science, said: “We’re delighted that Dr Huebner has chosen to bring her expertise to the University of Exeter. Her work on energy, the built environment and health and wellbeing will broaden and enhance the scope of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health and build on its successful portfolio of existing work, which is genuinely world-leading in the field. I’m confident that she will lead and inspire the team with a clear vision and ensure the existing collaborative interdisciplinary culture is fostered and further extended.

“Her appointment will allow yet more expertise and breadth of research capabilities to develop in the area of climate change and health. This body of knowledge is critical not only to the University of Exeter but importantly to the ensure decisions in the real world have positive impacts on those communities and environments most effected by challenges including climate change.”

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