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European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA)
News article5 June 2022European Health and Digital Executive Agency

World Environment Day: a closer look at Horizon Europe projects fighting environmental degradation for a healthier future

WED 2022
(c) European Union 2022

The 2022 World Environment Day, celebrated on 5 June, focuses on the #OnlyOneEarth campaign – a call for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet.

A healthy environment is essential to optimal human health and wellbeing. Conversely, environmental agents (air quality, noise, chemicals, or urbanisation), climate change, heatwaves, floods, land degradation, and the loss of biodiversity threaten human health.

HaDEA supports health research by managing a number of projects and initiatives under the Horizon Europe programme Cluster 1 (health).

Among its areas of intervention, we find ‘Environmental and social health determinants’, which includes research on environmental stressors and development of innovative solutions to counter their effect on human health.


EU-funded research projects and clusters in environment and health

Several clusters are conducting research to protect citizens' health from impacts of environmental degradation. The clusters are formed by the projects funded under the same topic and aim to build scientific synergies, increase the visibility of the research area, bring a stronger contribution to policies and actions, and facilitate international cooperation.

The cluster is developing new testing and screening methods to identify endocrine disruption chemicals. EURION is composed of projects ATHENA, EDCMET, ENDpoiNTs,ERGO, FREIA, GOLIATH, OBERON and SCREENED. Among these projects, ENDpoiNTs is generating new scientific knowledge on the link between endocrine disruption and human developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organism and behavioural level. Similarly, FREIA is focusing on safeguarding women’s reproductive health against endocrine disrupting chemicals.

The cluster studies the effects micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) have on the environment, human and animal health. The cluster comprises five research projects, AURORA, IMPTOX, PlasticsFatE, POLYRISK and Plasticheal. It aims to provide new evidence that could be used in regulating the use of MNPs. A dedicated Horizon Magazine recently featured the cluster’s work in an article titled ‘We eat and inhale thousands of bits of plastic every year. Now what?

The URBAN health cluster aims to increase visibility of urban health research, contribute to the EU urban agenda, and facilitate international cooperation with other relevant initiatives. The cluster is composed of six projects: ENLIGHTENme, URBANOME,RECETAS,WELLBASED, eMOTIONAL Cities, HEART . Among these, RECETAS focuses on improving human wellbeing and reducing loneliness in cities by using nature as a therapeutic pathway.

The network addresses the impact of urban exposome – environmental factors that humans are exposed to– on human health. It brings together 9 research projects: ATHLETEEPHOREXIMIOUSEXPANSEHEAPHEDIMEDLONGITOOLSREMEDIA and EQUAL-LIFE.

Among these, EXPANSE has been studying the urban exposome to generate and evaluate preventive interventions that consider both individual and collective behaviour and that will improve human health, in the long term.

Similarly, the HEAP platform has been gathering Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable (FAIR) data on exposure assessment and will provide a decision tool open to the broader research community and policymakers.



Horizon Europe is the research and innovation programme of the EU for the period 2021-2027. The aims of Cluster 1: Health, include improving and protecting the health and well-being of citizens of all ages by generating new knowledge, developing innovative solutions and integrating where relevant a gender perspective to prevent, diagnose, monitor, treat and cure diseases. Horizon 2020 (H2020) was the EU’s multiannual funding programme between 2014 and 2020.

Relevant links

Health research and innovation policy

Horizon Europe Health Work Programme 2021-2022


Publication date
5 June 2022
European Health and Digital Executive Agency
Programme Sector
Horizon EuropeHorizon Europe Cluster 1: Health
EUFundedHealthUnionMedical researchPublic health