We welcome you to the first newsletter of the Climate-Health Cluster. The cluster is a collaboration of six projects BlueAdapt, CATALYSE, CLIMOS, HIGH Horizons, IDAlert, and TRIGGER funded under the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon Europe, under the call topic HORIZON-HLTH-2021-ENVHLTH-02-03 “Health impacts of climate change, costs and benefits of action and inaction”.

In the cluster, we come together as 6 projects formed by 114 partner institutions across 30 countries in Europe and beyond. The operations started on 1st October 2022. It was kicked off on September 27, 2022, when the six project coordinators represented their projects in a panel organized and moderated by EU DG RTD at the European Health Forum Gastein. For eighteen months now, we have been collaborating cooperating, and advancing the dialogue on the health impacts of climate change.

Our expertise is as diverse as required to address the biggest challenges of the 21st century. We follow the One Health approach envisioning connecting various elements of human health, animal health, and planetary health. Each project takes leadership by coordinating the cluster for nine months. Five working groups form the working structure where each project has nominated 2-3 members, acting as main contacts, who cooperate within the working groups and relay information to their respective projects. We are health professionals, epidemiologists, climatologists, environmentalists, veterinarians, physicists, entomologists, social scientists, communication experts, project managers, and more...

In this first cluster newsletter, we present the six project coordinators who introduce their projects, the progress of work in the last 18 months, their role in the cluster, and how it all supports the EU policy action.  Furthermore, we share how the cluster adds value by creating outputs/ joint deliverables and reflect on some of our common cluster activities, where on one hand, we have been attending some global events and organizing joint activities, and on the other hosting the cluster’s first joint thematic workshop. Moreover, we are finalizing our first joint policy brief which has been a colearning initiative for various disciplines, and ready to be disseminated in early May.

Implementing this cluster and working beyond our projects was an additional task, which has proven meaningful. We hope you will equally appreciate reading what we have collated to share with you – our stakeholders.

Raman Preet
Cluster Coordinator
Carla Maia
Project Coordinator
Working Group
The Climate-Health Cluster is structured into working groups on topics of shared interest and research between the projects. Five working groups have been implemented and give an update of their work so far.
Working Group 1:
Science Translation to Policy
Working Group 1 on Science Translation to Policy, is responsible for ensuring that the scientific findings of the climate-health cluster are translated into policies. For this purpose, the working group developed a Science for Policy (S4P) strategy which aims to contribute to strengthening the science for policy link and increasing the cluster’s and projects’ impact on advocacy, policy and practice. The primary objective of the S4P strategy is to translate results for ‘engagement’ to ‘co-create’ ‘tools for action’ to ‘monitor’ and address climate change and health in Europe and beyond. Currently, the working group is involved in the writing of the cluster’s first policy brief, with the full cooperation of all projects. This brief focuses on raising awareness about climate change and its impact on health and example actions that can be taken by policy makers.
Working Group 2:
Data analysis, management, protection, & standardisation
Working Group 2 produced a cluster-level data management plan (DMP). Given the heterogeneity between projects, this document practically identified synergy enhancing activities within the Climate-Health Cluster. The intention is to update this ‘live’ document, throughout the lifetime of the cluster, to capture synergies (beyond the remit of individual projects). The different types of data were outlined within the DMP, as well as areas for data sharing between the projects. With this document as a baseline, the first cluster-thematic workshop, was held in Brussels on February 21st, 2024. It provided an invaluable opportunity to discuss and debate the options available to the cluster to advance data sharing, with the potential for harmonisation and homogenisation processes.

An overview of national policies in Europe[1], indicated that the most common measures to address climate impacts on health, in both national adaption strategies and national health strategies, were the development of monitoring and surveillance systems. This represents a common thread throughout the cluster. Such systems rely on Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data, and these FAIR principles, followed across the projects, were also included in the cluster DMP. While the recent discussions at the first cluster thematic workshop acknowledged that normative and political obstacles can limit these opportunities, it was clear that the climate-health cluster provides a unique collaboration to make meaningful advancements among key experts in the field.

[1] https://climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu/en/observatory/policy-context/national-policy-analysis-2022/national-policy-analysis-2022
Working Group 3:
Communication & Dissemination
Working Group 3 oversees the communication and dissemination efforts of the cluster. It was the first working group to begin collaboration during the early stages of the cluster setup. Over the initial 18 months, the working group has been heavily involved in developing and implementing the communication and dissemination strategy for the cluster.

Together, we have collaborated on designing the cluster’s visual identity, logo, and poster, as well as developing the website, which serves as one of the primary channels for promoting the cluster’s activities. As a cohesive group with active participation from all projects, we regularly update the website by adding events and news items as agreed upon by its members.

We have produced the Cluster Brochure, which we have distributed at various events such as ENBEL 2023 and the ‘Research Perspectives on the Health Impacts of Climate Change’ Conference in Brussels, on 19 and 20 February, where the cluster was represented. Additionally, we have established LinkedIn and X as our social media channels through which we communicate and promote the cluster’s activities, as well as those of its six projects.

We are committed to ensuring that the cluster reaches a wide audience, spreading awareness about the impacts of climate change on health across a diverse range of stakeholders in Europe and beyond.
Working Group 4:
Working Group 4 is dedicated to developing a common view on how early warning systems increase the level of awareness and knowledge as well as support mitigation and adaptation actions. The main activity to date has been organising and hosting the first Thematic workshop in February 2024 at Brussels, after the on Research perspectives on the health impacts of climate change. The workshop was planned along with WG2 and dedicated to sharing current achievements and ideas across the cluster. Within the working group, we are also sharing what type of data we are using, how we are creating our forecasts and disseminating them to project partners. For the next task, we will engage to define a common understanding of the definition of early warning systems, especially in the context of climate and health.
Working Group 5:
Indicator development
Working Group 5 has had a few virtual meetings to present indicator development in the respective projects. Synergies and potential overlaps were identified and discussed. The respective projects have in common that they collect data on climate-sensitive health indicators, although the focus of each covers a wide range of indicators, including indicators on Leishmaniasis, tick-borne diseases, and drought vulnerability in Europe; indicators capturing the impact of heat exposure on maternal, newborn, and child health; and indicators for coastal pathogens and climate change adaptations. Some projects do not use nor analyse data but have developed ontologies, e.g. for sand-borne diseases.

The working group members have shared their respective frameworks for indicator selection with each other and are discussing the advantages and disadvantages of selecting indicators. One tangible outcome so far has been a cross-project collaboration, for example, climatic suitability for the leishmaniasis indicator. This cooperation between researchers has resulted in a nested machine learning modelling approach, applied to predict the climatic suitability for leishmaniasis across NUTS3 regions. This indicator has been submitted as part of the Lancet Countdown Europe Report for 2024 and will be made available to public health practitioners and decision makers as part of the European Climate and Health Observatory which supports EU strategic actions for climate and health.
Interviews with project coordinators
The coordinators of each project introduce their research and their project’s role in the cluster.
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We have created some resources that you can use to learn more about CLUSTER
policy brief
cluster activities
Together, the cluster projects collaborate to increase the societal and policy impact of EU-funded research linked to climate, health and policy. We do this by attending global events and facilitating and organizing joint activities, such as the ENBEL conference in October 2023, the high level EU conference on Research Perspectives on the Health Impacts of Climate Change (February 2024) and our first thematic workshop (February 2024).
Advancing Collaboration: Insights from the Inaugural Climate-Health Cluster Workshop, on 21 February, on Numerical Tools and Early Warning Systems
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The European Climate-Health Cluster attended the ‘Research Perspectives on the Health Impacts of Climate Change’ Conference in Brussels, on 19 and 20 February. The high-level conference, organised by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European...
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The Climate-Health Cluster participated in the ENBEL 2023 conference on 12 October 2023, in Stockholm, Sweden in a session focused on exploring the health e ects of climate change, providing insights into the ongoing research conducted by the 6 Horizon Europe project forming the cluster.
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The six Horizon Europe projects, BlueAdapt, CATALYSE, CLIMOS, HIGH Horizons, IDAlert, and TRIGGER, form the climate change and health cluster.