Climate and health

Wellcome seeks to put health at the heart of climate change actions.

Why we're taking on climate and health 

Climate change is likely to be the greatest threat to human health this century, and yet is not commonly thought of as a health issue. 

As the world warms because of human actions, sea level are rising, extreme weather events becoming more severe and more frequent, and droughts and heatwaves are intensifying. 

Each of these climate impacts has the potential for significant consequences for human health. 

  • The health of millions of people will be negatively affected by increased temperatures
  • Infectious diseases carried by vectors such as mosquitoes will spread faster and further 
  • It will be increasingly hard to grow the food we need to live healthily.

Many of us are already experiencing some of these effects. While nowhere is immune, the impacts will not be experienced equally around the world with some of the most vulnerable countries likely to be most severely affected. 

The climate crisis is a health crisis, and we need a global strategy for urgent action. But there are significant gaps in our knowledge of how to limit the effects of climate change on health and how to protect the health of those already suffering from climate change. 

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 we're doing 

Working with the communities most affected, Wellcome will support a transformation in the generation, access and use of evidence and science-based solutions in taking on this urgent health challenge.  

To help fill knowledge gaps, we will support better, faster and more equitable ways to collect and share information about the effect of climate change impact on health, at national and regional levels. 

In October 2021, Wellcome pledged up to a further £75 million to accelerate climate and health research. A mixture of funding streams will support the generation of new evidence. This will enable local policy stakeholders and decision makers to understand the scale of the impact of climate change on health and identify evidence-based locally relevant solutions. 

Wellcome also funds discovery research into a range of disciplines, including climate and health. The knowledge and tools generated from this research will contribute to solving this health challenge, as well as transforming our broader understanding of life, health and wellbeing. 

Research funding opportunities 

To help deliver our vision across three key health challenges, we support research through a combination of open calls and direct funding approaches.  

We work with and fund a diverse group of people who can bring innovative and creative insights to these urgent health challenges. 

This page will be updated regularly with the latest climate and health funding information and the opportunities we have available for discovery research.

Biological vulnerability to extreme heat in maternal and child health 

This award will fund research teams to significantly advance understanding of the biological vulnerability to extreme heat in the context of maternal and child health.

Heat adaptation: evaluating interventions to help manage the health effects of heat

The award will fund teams led by researchers from low- or middle-income countries to test interventions to manage heat-related health risks in real settings – not under laboratory conditions.

A girl carries water for her family, in a remote village in West Bengal, India.

Wellcome’s ambitions for 2022 and beyond

Cheryl Moore, Director of Research Programmes, shares how Wellcome plans to spend £16 billion over the next ten years to advance scientific discovery and take on the world’s most pressing health issues.

What we've done so far  

Since 2015, we've supported a global community of researchers who are taking on the challenges that climate change pose to our health. We’ve gained many valuable insights that have helped to inform our work in the Climate & Health challenge area.

Find out more about the grants we awarded.

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 Interventions, Climate and Health

    Wellcome

  • A photograph of the person, Irini Pantelidou.

    Irini Pantelidou

    Research Manager, Field Building

    Wellcome

  • A photograph of the person, Madeleine Thomson.

    Madeleine Thomson

    Head of Climate Impacts

    Wellcome

Latest report 

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