Finding solutions for climate change accelerated health issues

30 September 2022

The NanoHealth Network enables transformational change by connecting academics with industry and government organisations. 

NanoHealth 2.0 will focus on delivering sustainable real-world solutions to the growing health challenges exacerbated by climate change and develop tools to address the impact on climate change caused by the health sector.

The NanoHealth Network was established in 2020 as a joint 2-year initiative of Sydney Nano and the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Co-chaired by Sydney Nano Director, Professor Ben Eggleton and Deputy Executive Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Professor Mark Rees and governed by a Steering committee with representation from key stakeholders, this network has successfully united researchers across several faculties and schools with partner organisations and end-users to enable innovative solutions to health problems.

The second stage of this network, NanoHealth 2.0, will be launched in 2023 by Sydney Nano and the Faculty of Medicine and Health to provide a clearer focus on specific health challenges affecting our local and global communities. Following detailed consultations with academic and industry experts, NanoHealth 2.0 will focus on health challenges that are being accelerated by climate change as well as the role that the health care sector plays in contributing to global greenhouse emissions. 

This is in alignment with the COP26 Health programme’s key initiatives:

  • Building climate resilient health systems
  • Developing low carbon sustainable health systems

This Network will embrace an equity, diversity, and inclusion agenda to ensure these solutions are applied equitably.

Health challenges accelerated by climate change

Climate change poses a tremendous health threat for our growing global population. Some climate-sensitive health risks include:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Agriculture related diseases such as malnutrition and food-borne diseases
  • Noncommunicable diseases such as glaucoma blindness and related eyesight diseases

Sydney Nano researcher and Smart Sustainable Building Network Cluster co-chair Dr Arunima Malik has recently published in Nature Food about the impacts of climate change on food supply chains. “Climate change can directly impact our economy, livelihoods, and health", Arunima reports. "Disruptions caused by extreme weather events can cascade across regions and sectors, resulting in job and income losses and impacts on food availability.” 

Health care’s global climate footprint

The health sector contributes a substantial proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions at more than 4.4%, with Australia as one of the top ten global contributors. As pressures on the health care system continue to rise as a result of climate change related health and environmental emergencies, the health sector’s global climate footprint is expected to increase. It is therefore critical that both innovative technologies and policies be developed now to minimise the acceleration of climate change. 

NanoHealth 2.0 will enable transformational solutions to develop technologies for net-zero emission health care by bridging expertise and capabilities across the University, forming strong partnerships with government and health organisations, and addressing many of the current health challenges accelerated by climate change.

Top 10 health care emitters in 2022

Australia's health care sector represents a significant proportion of the global health care footprint. 

Sydney Nano expects to appoint the Senior Research Officer to support the NanoHealth 2.0 Network and drive collaboration and external engagement in late 2022. We encourage interested academics to apply for cluster co-chair positions and will be actively seeking to fill these roles imminently.

Benjamin Eggleton

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)
  • +61 2 9351 7726
  • Michael Spence Building (F23)

Mark Rees

Deputy Executive Dean, Research Partnerships
  • +61 2 8627 7637 (Executive Assistant - Aleasha Collins)
  • +61 2 8627 7079 (Direct)
  • Room L2.05 Quadrangle A14

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