A new EU European Union (European Union) Horizon2020 project Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe (SOPHIE) will explore the complex interplay between the health of the marine environment and that of humans. It also aims to build a network of researchers and practitioners from two traditionally distinct groups; marine and maritime specialists; and the medical and public health community. SOPHIE launches in December 2017 and will run for 2.5 years.


The project will deliver a clear road map for the future direction of Oceans and Human Health research in Europe, to improve our understanding of the impacts environments such as ‘blue spaces’ can have on health and wellbeing. The European Union is investing €2 million within the Horizon 2020 Framework.

Project coordination and RIVM role

Professor Lora Fleming, Director of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health of the University of Exeter, will lead SOPHIE and believes the project’s launch is timely: “Over the last ten years we’ve contributed to a growing body of evidence which suggests both the marine environment and human health are inextricably linked. Yet we’ve lacked a consistent and coordinated approach to developing these findings further and using them to inform policies". RIVM will work on two workpackages: Innovative Solutions and Future Scenarios and the Strategic Research Agenda. For RIVM this project provides an exciting opportunity to share and further develop our knowledge on healthy environment for the sea basins in Europe. SOPHIE will also build on ongoing work in the EU European Union (European Union) Horizon 2020 projects BlueHealth and INHERIT. Susanne Wuijts of RIVM's Centre for Sustainability, Environment and Health will be coordinating the workpackages.


The project consortium includes members from academia, small and medium sized businesses, and government. It has specific expertise in developing and implementing public health and environmental policies.

The full list of partners is:
University of Exeter Medical School 
European Marine Board IVZW
National University of Ireland, Galway
Dutch National Institute for Public Health and Environment, RIVM


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 774567. Further information will be available when the project begins.