Exeter Uni In Top 5 Global Institutions For Green Health Research
The University of Exeter has leapt into the top five world institutions for research on links between green space and public health.
Exeter is ranked fourth in a list of the most productive institutions globally to study how exposure to green space can improve public health, according to a review of the field in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
The review found that Exeter has published 148 research papers between 2010 and 2019. Environmental research is a priority area across the University, with 2010 seeing the establishment of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health. The past decade has also seen the establishment of the Environment and Sustainability Institute at Exeter. Both centres make a significant contribution to research in the field of the interactions between health and nature. Exeter did not feature in the rankings top ten for the two decades prior to 2010.
2010 saw the establishment of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health.
Professor Lora Fleming, Director of the University of Exeter European Centre for Environment and Human Health, said:
“Ranking in the global top five for research output in the field of green space and public health is a major endorsement of the huge impact our Centre, and colleagues in the wider University, have made across the world. It’s an incredibly important area of research. As our world becomes increasingly populated, we need to understand the value of green spaces so we can feed into policy to improve access and optimise people’s mental health.”
University of Exeter Makes Key Discoveries
In recent years, the University has made a number of key discoveries, including defining the optimal time to spend in nature to benefit mental health as 120 minutes per week.
A recent large-scale study found that spending time in the garden is linked to similar benefits for health and wellbeing as living in wealthy areas.
Another study published this year found that people who spend more time in nature are more likely to take up sustainable activities, such as recycling, buying eco-friendly products or environmental volunteering.
Exeter is also an authority on how antimicrobial resistance spreads through the natural environment, with Exeter academics reporting this work to the United Nations.
The body of research is designed to influence policy to preserve and optimise natural spaces and encourage people to engage with them in healthy ways. The European Centre for Environment and Human Health is a WHO Collaborating Centre on Natural Environments and Health in recognition of the Centre’s significant contribution to science and policy-making from a decade of interdisciplinary research.
Professor Clive Ballard, Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter Medical School, said:
“Environmental and human health research is incredibly important for us here at Exeter, and this ranking shows that we’re very much on the global map. I’m very proud of the outstanding calibre of researchers we have in this area. This body of research can help to maximise the benefits that natural environments can have on health, which can benefit people across the world.”