The University of Nicosia Medical School is engaged as a partner in its first HORIZON 2020 project under the guidance of faculty member, Dr George Samoutis. The project is entitled “Integrated inter-sector framework to increase the thermal resilience of European workers in the context of global warming” (Acronym: HEAT-SHIELD) and is led by the University of Copenhagen.

ABOUT HEAT SHIELD

Environmental heating is a growing challenge for our community and problems are already experienced by millions of Europeans during the summertime and aggravated during heat waves or occupational settings. In addition to the well-known health risks related to severe heat stress, a number of studies have confirmed significant loss of productivity due to hyperthermia. Even if countries adopt the EU proposal for limiting global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, climate change and its associated threat to public health will continue for many decades. Thus, it is crucial to develop strategies to mitigate the detrimental health and societal effects of these environmental changes.

Stakeholders, such as policy makers and the private sector, usually lack the technical capabilities or facilities to conduct R&D activities at the level of excellence required for such development. European research institutes have the capacity to conduct the R&D necessary to develop solutions. However, they often lack the capacity to transform these solutions into policies and assess their health, economic and social benefits. The HEAT-SHIELD project will create a sustainable inter-sector framework that will promote health as well as productivity for European citizens in the context of global warming.

The project will produce a series of state-of-the-art innovative outcomes including:

1.appropriate technical and biophysical research based solutions to be implemented when the ambient temperature poses a health threat or impairs productivity;

2.a weather-based warning system with online open access service that anticipates the events that may pose a threat to workers’ health;

3.scenario-specific policies and solutions aimed at health promotion and preventing loss of productivity;

4.implementation of the formulated policies and evaluation of their health, economic and social benefits. Consequently, the HEAT-SHIELD project provides a multi-sector approach to address the serious environmental challenge.

Twenty European partners are involved in the project, which is set to run for five years. The total project budget is approximately 5.78 million Euros.

For more information contact: Dr. George Samoutis (samoutis.g@unic.ac.cy)