Setting research priorities in environment and health (2019)
Bonn, Germany,30 November-1 December 2017
Establishing priorities in environment and health research is a complex challenge. Human impact on the environment occurs at a faster pace than research; therefore, improvements should be made in research aimed at anticipating human health impacts. More action-oriented research is needed in this respect, namely on the effectiveness of interventions. Innovation and creativity are key elements, both for novel research and for extracting value from existing knowledge and evidence. Investment is needed in research methodologies that allow for complexity in risk assessment, system assessments and economic assessments. Investments should be made in new research methods that strengthen causal inferences but at the same time, as uncertainty is often an issue, do not hamper or delay policy action in environment and health. The development of effective governance systems for environment and health research is also a priority, with attention to values, ethics and conflict of interest. Improvements in the accessibility and uptake of research findings beyond the academic community, along with educational research programs and good communication, are necessary for optimal use of research findings. Conflicts of interest must be identified to protect research impartiality and, consequently, promote effective prevention.