MU leads €6 million Horizon project to futureproof urban health

Wednesday, December 20, 2023 - 11:30

A new €6 million Horizon Europe research project led by Maynooth University is developing new ways of thinking and doing about the combined challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Health researchers based in Ireland have been successful in securing over €36 million from 2022 and 2023 funding calls under Horizon Europe, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Go Green Next is a Horizon Europe project that will future proof urban health across Europe and North America. The central aim of the  project is to advance research and innovation to support the development of evidence-based policy at city, national, and global levels, to accelerate our efforts to address the challenges of climate change, biodiversity and environmental degradation and human health in the urban context.

A total of 19 partners from North America, Switzerland, Norway, Spain, Austria, Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Malta, and three partners from Ireland will develop novel approaches to investigate how best cities can realise their climate neutral ambitions.

Pilot demonstrations will be conducted across conurbations with diverse spatial, climatic, and cultural characteristics in Malta, Päijät-Häme  region in Finland, Klagenfurt, Austria, and Cork city in Ireland.

Almost €1.4 million of funding will support research and project coordination at Maynooth University. The interdisciplinary nature of this project brings together researchers from psychology, mathematics and statistics, law and climate science who are part of the Innovation Value Institute, the All and Hamilton Institutes, respectively.

The team at Maynooth University includes psychologists Dr Tadhg MacIntyre, Prof Andrew Coogan, Prof Malcolm MacLachlan, statisticians and biostatisticians, Dr Niamh Cahill and Prof Andrew Parnell, and from the Department of Law, Dr Oliver Bartlett and Dr Mary Dobbs.

According to the scientific coordinator, Dr Tadhg MacIntyre, Go Green Next is part of the next generation of projects that consider access to nature as fundamental to health and well-being. The EU Cities Mission sets targets for cleaner air, safer transport and less congestion and noise and the project will evaluate the best paths to realise this ambition.

Professor Rachel Msetfi, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at Maynooth University, welcomed the funding announcement.

“Go Green Next is exactly the type of EU project that Maynooth University envisions in our new five-year Strategic Plan with its focus on urban health and wellbeing, promoting sustainability and mitigating the impacts of climate change with clear policy impacts in Ireland and at the European level,” she stated.

“Seven researchers across three institutes, Innovation Value Institute, All Institute and the Hamilton Institute at Maynooth University will be central to the research in the 19 partner project which will address the challenges of climate change, biodiversity and environmental degradation, and human health in the urban context.”

Commenting on the announcement, MEP Ciaran Cuffe said: “Cities are experiencing the impacts of climate change in real time. Extreme weather events such as heat, drought and flooding are having dangerous impacts in our urban areas. All too often it is the urban poor who are most vulnerable to our changing climate.

“Cities must therefore accelerate their efforts in adapting to and mitigating the impacts of our warming world. If we are to achieve a just transition, we must ensure cities have the capacity to adapt and change quickly to protect their inhabitants.”

Kevin Burke, National Director for Horizon Europe at Enterprise Ireland, congratulated those involved in the project for successfully securing funding.

“The National Support Network team, led by Enterprise Ireland, works with Ireland’s researchers, innovators and enterprises to help them compete for and win funding in the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme. The Cities Mission is one of five missions that form an integral part of Horizon Europe and this €6 million project, led by Maynooth University, will further the aim to support cities in accelerating their green and digital transformation. Congratulations to all involved.”


Funded by the European Commission under Horizon Europe grant agreement no. 101137209.