Climate and health

Our vision is a world where catastrophic climate breakdown is averted in a way that allows human health to flourish.

The world's climate is changing, and this is having a direct impact on humanity. Climate change is already affecting the environments in which we live and work, the health of many populations, and the wellbeing of our societies. 

We can no longer stop climate change from happening, but we must take urgent steps to prevent it from getting worse and protect the communities most at risk. 

We want to live in a healthier and more sustainable world – one in which local communities and national governments are fully equipped to tackle the combined global climate and health emergencies with the urgency they require. 

To do this, we are funding a transformation in the scale of research into the impacts of climate change on human health, and using the evidence that is generated to advocate for change. 

What do we want to achieve? 

The climate and health programme seeks to: 

  • significantly increase our understanding of the effects of climate change on human health  

  • define the interventions and policies that can respond to the climate crisis in a way that protects and improves human health. 

Climate change has many impacts on human health.  For example, higher temperatures and extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and flash flooding, directly cause illness and death.   

However, climate change is also driving shifts in the distribution of important infectious diseases such as malaria, as well as reducing the ability of farmers to grow crops, potentially leaving millions of people in conditions of food insecurity.

Why is climate and health a core focus for us? 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), climate change is the single greatest threat to humanity and its effects on human health are already being felt. 

However, there are significant gaps in scientific understanding of the scale of the current and future effects of climate change on health; how to protect the health of populations as the climate changes (adaptation); and the potential benefits to health of actions that would reduce climate change (mitigation). 

To fill these gaps, the field of climate and health research needs significantly better resourcing; increased collaboration in research between experts in different scientific disciplines; and recognition of the urgent need to prioritise efforts to reduce future climate change as well as protecting the communities that will be most affected.  

But the production of this evidence alone, however important, is not sufficient. We will seek to ensure that the evidence is used by community, national, and global policy makers to deliver interventions and policies that respond to the urgent climate and health crisis. 

We hope these studies will provide evidence that key decision makers can use to make science-informed choices when creating policy related to climate change and human health. 

"We are supporting a transformation in the generation and use of evidence on the interaction between climate change and health in order to put health at the heart of climate change action."

A photograph of the person, Alan Dangour.

Alan Dangour

Director of Climate and Health

Wellcome

What funding do we provide? 

We’re looking to fund better and faster ways to collect and share information about the impact climate change has on human health around the world, at national, regional, and global levels. 

This evidence must be tailored to the needs of specific regions, countries, and communities, so that it is of practical use to decision makers at all levels of governance.  

We want to focus on: quantitative data on the effects of climate change on health; identifying the benefits to health of urgent climate change mitigation actions; establishing evidence on how to protect health through climate change adaption actions; and creating a global climate and health community with the skills and tools necessary to make a significant impact.

Additionally, we fund discovery research in a broad range of disciplines, including climate and health.

We also invite organisations to apply for contract opportunities that support our mission.

Current specific climate and health funding opportunities

How is Wellcome funded? 

Wellcome is an independent charitable foundation. To find out where we get our grant funding from, visit our investments page

Our team 

  • A photograph of the person, Alan Dangour.

    Alan Dangour

    Director of Climate and Health

    Wellcome

  • A photograph of the person, Modi Mwatsama.

    Modi Mwatsama

    Head of Capacity and Field Development

    Wellcome

  • A photograph of the person, Irini Pantelidou.

    Irini Pantelidou

    Research Manager

    Wellcome

  • A photograph of the person, Madeleine Thomson.

    Madeleine Thomson

    Head of Impacts and Adaptation

    Wellcome

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