EPA-HSE Priority Setting in Environment and Health Research


It is well recognised that our health and wellbeing is inextricably linked to our surrounding environment and that a clean and well-protected environment is a key building block to a healthy Ireland. Understanding the associations between environmental opportunities and threats and human health and wellbeing is of paramount importance and fundamental to the development of good environmental and public health policy.

There is a need for Ireland to develop a robust and systematic national agenda for research in this area to inform investment and direct relevant activities, thereby helping to address global environment and health issues at a more local level.

To map and best inform the future direction of environment and health research in Ireland, as well as national research investment, the EPA and the HSE have partnered to jointly support the development of a national agenda for research in this area. As part of this, it is intended that an extensive stakeholder consultation and prioritisation exercise will be performed to assist in identification of knowledge gaps, research needs and areas of strategic opportunity for Ireland.

The three broad key dimensions being considered as part of the current exercise include:

  • Natural Environment;
  • Built Environment;
  • Lifestyle Consumption and Behaviour.

The EPA and HSE have commissioned the CIRCA Group to carry out the current prioritisation exercise. The following are the main tasks which will be undertaken by CIRCA as part of the current exercise:

  • Through two phases of online surveys, review current research activity in relevant fields, including the scale and nature of current research; funding sources; major research teams; and collaborative linkages and seek views from a wide range of individuals and organisations on their perceived priorities in the field of environment and health.
  • Hold a number of facilitated workshops, involving a broad range of stakeholders, to review findings from surveys, consider broad priority themes identified and move towards a consensus view on the appropriate priority topics to be included.
  • Finally, produce a comprehensive Environment and Health Research Roadmap capturing all the essential findings, including a review of the international state of best practice in the field of environmental health research.

It is hoped that multidisciplinary and intersectoral involvement will ultimately play a vital role in helping to shape and drive this research agenda for Ireland.

For more information, please contact research@epa.ie or jim.ryan@circa.ie