25 May 2020

The Australian Government is investing $3.65 million in five ground-breaking public health research projects.

The Government’s funding is part of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) commitment to international collaboration, and supports research grants awarded under a joint scheme with UK Research and Innovation.

Five innovative projects will be funded:  

  • Spatial analysis, transport behaviour and simulation modelling will generate evidence on how built environments can be designed to improve population health by supporting active travel. 
  • Data collected from over one million children will be analysed to help understand how built environments can contribute to childhood obesity, and how to overcome this challenge to create family-friendly environments for healthy living.
  • The qualities of green spaces that impact positively on mental health and cardio-metabolic diseases will be investigated to improve green space design and promote healthier communities for all.
  • Environmental data will be linked to existing studies on ageing to examine how the neighbourhood built environment, natural environment, air pollution and noise may impact on cognitive decline and the risk of dementia in older adults.
  • Digital technologies will be used to generate evidence and create tools to support urban planners, working with the health sector, to design urban spaces that improve public health, rather than cause health problems.

Each of these projects combines evidence and analysis from Australia and the United Kingdom to further our understanding of the impacts of built environments on population health, including understanding any differences between the two countries.

NHMRC funding supports outstanding Australian researchers to engage with international colleagues and their facilities on projects of the highest calibre, and helps translate scientific discoveries into real world outcomes that will benefit communities in Australia and around the world.

Research funding recipients
Chief Investigator Application Title Administering Institution Budget
Professor Billie Giles-Corti Joining Impact models of transport with spatial measures of the Built Environment (JIBE) RMIT University $814,558.00
Associate Professor Hayley Christian Built Environments And Child Health in WalEs and AuStralia (BEACHES) University of Western Australia $797,256.00
Associate Professor Xiaoqi Feng Better Parks, Healthier for All? University of New South Wales $745,074.35
Professor Ester Cerin The impact of the Environment and Pollution On Cognitive Health (EPOCH): Building the knowledge base through international collaboration Australian Catholic University Limited $681,240.00
Doctor Jason Thompson A vision of healthy urban design for NCD prevention University of Melbourne 608,910.90