Funding Opportunity for scientist conducting research on Healthy Cities and Food-Water-Environment Nexus

The Newton Fund with the support of CONFAP and CNPq is inviting applications from scientists based in Brazil to attend a jointly organised workshop with ESRC – Economics and Social Science Research Council in London, UK, on 13 – 14 April 2015, followed by an agenda of 2 days of visits and meetings in Scotland.

CONFAP, ESRC and CNPq encourage Brazilian researchers interested in working with UK partners in Healthy Cities and Energy-Environment-Food Security Nexus to apply for this programme which is aimed at i) building relationship; ii) forging links; and iii) raising awareness and identifying common research agendas to the forthcoming research call between Brazil and the UK on these areas – to be launched shortly after the mission between CONFAP, CNPq and ESRC – estimated total investment of £4.8M.

As an initial step to build partnerships, facilitate collaboration and scope the programme the aims of this joint workshop will be:

  • To discuss the key science challenges that relate to the aims of this programme and how they could be best addressed;
  • To facilitate networking, discussion and enable researchers to share ideas on key research questions;
  • To explore opportunities for potential future collaboration in the areas of this call;
  • The outcome of the workshop will be to define the scope of a new UK/Brazil, interdisciplinary call, supported by the Newton Fund, with a focus on research contributing to the economic development and welfare of Brazil;

Application and Selection Process

  • To attend the workshop you must complete the expression of interest (“EoI”) form. The form, together with a CV of no more than two sides of A4, should be sent to by 23:59 (Brasília Time) on Friday 13th March 2015.
  • Spaces are reserved for 16 researchers, 8 from Healthy Cities and 8 from Energy- Environment-Food Security Nexus.
  • The Newton Fund will fund International Flights tickets in economy class, accommodation in the UK from 12th April until 17th April, transportation within the UK, including transfer from/to airport and also breakfast.
  • An expert committee will be established with representatives from CNPq, CONFAP and the Newton Fund team based in Brazil to review the applications received.
  • Successful candidates will be notified by on the week commencing 16th March 2015.

Background info on the themes

Urban Transformations: Healthy Cities

Urbanisation is taking place on an unprecedented scale; with the global urban population set to cross 75% by 2050 the urban environment and urban living will be the places that determine the health and the wellbeing of the majority of the population in the twenty-first century.

The costs linked to health and social care are increasingly unsustainable and are expected to increase in the years to come as more countries are faced with an aging population and non-communicable diseases.  Both issues are linked closely to the urban environment through e.g. enabling a life course approach to healthy ageing within an urban environment and consideration of the differential exposures and lifestyle changes brought about by urban living. We also need to understand health inequalities and outcomes both within and between a wider range of cities, including how cities manage particular health challenges. It is therefore imperative that we take a multi-dimensional view to promote and facilitate healthy urban environments.

We collectively need to develop a new urban agenda that incorporates healthy lives for all in order not only to raise the quality of life linked to basic health provision in the poorest urban areas, but also to address the issues facing higher income cities. Urban planning and development in the broadest senses – from development management of housing and infrastructure to the location and connectivity of health and social services or green space, food environments and community safety – all play a central role in creating environments that enhance people’s health and wellbeing.

A healthy city aims to:

  • Create a proactive health-supportive environment for urban citizens,
  • Develop suitable and safe housing conditions and infrastructure provision
  • Ensure food and water provision to influence good diet and nutrition, which can include urban agriculture
  • Address issues of planning and design which can influence physical activity, play and leisure, as well as making room for a plural society and thereby improving the overall wellbeing of a community
  • Support the development of healthy communities through consideration of work and social support on which many rely
  • Supply access to health care and other social services required for urban living
  • Provide for sanitation and hygiene needs, especially in poor areas and lower income cities without sufficient infrastructure or have high levels of informal urban living
  • Plan for sustainable and liveable city spaces including consideration of future needs and provision for safer streets to reduce crime or traffic and support both mental and physical health

We need to develop more integrated strategies for healthy place making, gather greater intelligence on the social and economic determinants of urban health and wellbeing to guide decisions and investments, reform and strengthen institutions to develop systems of governance that urban populations need, and involve more professions and communities to promote healthy cities.

However, the existing bodies of knowledge on the relationship between human health and the physical urban environment are overwhelmingly based on empirical work undertaken in the global North, and the concepts of ‘health’ and ‘the urban’ that underpin this body of knowledge are also derived largely from the particular historical and cultural contexts of the global North.

Conversely cities in the global south tend to be characterised by flexibility and informality and hold a range of different forms of social structure, from families and community networks to institutional and governance processes – the global south also faces a number of additional challenges not common to the contexts of the northern and western cities where many of these approaches and theories were developed such as communicable diseases, poor infrastructure and a general lack of resources on which to draw for new developments.

Food-Water-Environment Nexus

What is the Nexus?

It is research that addresses a set of challenges that cut across the Food-Water-Energy Nexus. The challenges recognise the connectedness and global nature of the issues around e.g. equitable access to resources; understanding and encouraging sustainable behaviours; cost-benefit analysis of climate change mitigation and adaptation interventions; economic threats and opportunities of the sustainability agenda; security of and competition for resources, and understanding trade-offs; green growth and innovation; financing the green economy; new technologies and public acceptance; and how to promote effective interdisciplinary working to address these complex and connected issues.

The uniquely complex nature of these interdependent issues has been recognised in a number of key international meetings where the opportunity for social science to make ground-breaking contributions to addressing the challenges facing humanity has been highlighted.

 About Newton Fund

The Newton Fund is an initiative intended to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging countries. It was launched by the Chancellor George Osborne during his visit to Brazil in April 2014, and will deliver £375 million of funding over the course of five years. It will be invested £27 million (approximately R$ 94 million) until 2017 in Brazil. The Fund is part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment to promote initiatives to strengthen social and economic development of emerging countries. The programs awarded under the Newton Fund resources shall be established between Brazilian and British institutions, which partners will be responsible for promoting the calls.

By: British Consulate General