BlueAdapt, a new €10 million Horizon Europe project, studies the impact of climate change on health risks due to pathogens in the environment, specifically in our coastal waters. BlueAdapt is an acronym for “Reducing Climate Based Risks in Blue Environments: Adapting to the climate change impacts on coastal pathogens.” It involves 12 institutes from across 10 countries in Europe, including EuroHealthNet. The project brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers, including microbiologists, epidemiologists, economists, climate scientists, public health specialists and policy specialists in order to investigate the complex interactions between climate change, pathogen dynamics and human health. Partners will develop a conceptual framework to help understand these interactions, which will be based on an extended One Health approach, linking human and environmental health and also including a health equity lens.
“BlueAdapt presents a unique opportunity for us to investigate emerging disease risks in our coastal waters,” said Prof Marc Neumann, Research Professor at the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) and BlueAdapt’s Principal Investigator. “We hope to be able to improve the understanding on how bacteria and viruses in coastal zones will respond to changes in our climate and how this in turn may impact the health of the European population. We will investigate policy responses, including early warning systems, and estimate expected benefits of adaptation actions.”
“Our coastal waters are important to our society in terms of providing space for recreation, food to our tables and supporting a range of industries. It is important we understand how bacteria and viruses will respond to changes in our climate and society – so we can better plan,” said Dr Tim Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Environmental and Public Health Economics at the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health. “Through a series of case studies, BlueAdapt will focus in on change in different areas of Europe and look at different options for responding to these emerging threats.”
Based on an analysis of the health risks associated with coastal pathogens, and the differential impacts on genders, ages and socio-economic groups, EuroHealthNet will engage with policymakers to co-develop recommendations on how to adapt to the changes in our seas, rivers and lakes in ways that reduce negative health impacts and promote health equity. “Working with coastal communities as well as policymakers across Europe will be key to ensure the tools and recommendations are sensitive to local needs, promote wide engagement, and generate action,” said Alba Godfrey, Senior Project Coordinator at EuroHealthNet.
BlueAdapt is a partnership between the Basque Centre for Climate Change, University of Exeter, Charles University, University of Warsaw, University of Galway, Deltares, CMCC, EuroHealthNet, Bangor University, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, University of the Basque Country and ThenTryThis. BlueAdapt is funded under European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 101057764 and by UKRI/HM Government.