Background: The aim of the EU-funded HERA (health and environment research agenda) project is to set priorities for the future European research agenda in the environment, climate and health nexus. We report results from a European researcher's perspective and identify research areas that have been inadequately investigated to date. Methods: An online survey was completed by European researchers to assess, evaluate and visualise research gaps. These research gaps were identified for 21 predefined areas within 3 main categories: i) classical environment and health paradigm; ii) problem or sector-based research areas and approaches and iii) holistic research areas and concepts. All research gaps were then evaluated by expert groups with the pre-defined criteria and systematically summarized. For areas identified within the survey as under-reported, additional input was sought from a range of key selected experts. The EU project database Cordis was utilized to verify that these areas were under-researched. Results: Between May and July 2019, 318 respondents from 38 countries reported 624 research gaps. The main areas for attention identified were: urban environments; chemicals; and climate change, (combined n = 313 gaps). Biodiversity loss and health; transport, mobility, sustainable solutions and health; energy transition and health; waste and the circular economy and health; ethics and philosophy and health were areas that were acknowledged as under-researched (combined n = 27 gaps). These under-researched areas were identified as having certain commonalities, they: i) mostly fell in the category “problem or sector based approaches“; ii) they are essential for developing and implementing solutions; and iii) require trans-disciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration. Conclusions: Currently attention is given to topical and highly researched areas in environmental health. In contrast, this paper identifies key topics and approaches that are under-researched, yet, are critical for the implementation of the EU Green Deal, related strategies and action plans, and require further investigation and investment. The findings reveal the imperative to foster solutions-oriented, trans-disciplinary and participatory research and its implementation through changes in research funding and research structures.
GrantsAgencia Estatal de Investigación Horizon 2020 Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación Generalitat de Catalunya Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa 2019-2023 Horizon 2020 Framework Programme Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa