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Climate change and sustainability

Climate change poses a significant challenge to public health. In addition to the direct health impacts of a changing climate, it undermines the core foundations of good health and deepens existing health inequalities. As the nation’s largest funder of health and care research, we recognise the key role we must play in driving and promoting sustainable health and care systems.

We welcome the NHS's national ambition to become the ‘world’s first net zero health service’. We are committed to supporting the NHS in achieving this by funding world-class research and innovation. Our research can help deliver low carbon, sustainable and resilient health and care systems.

Sustainable health and care

Across the NIHR, we are already investing in research and innovation to support these goals. We aim to fund research to generate evidence of real-world solutions in health and care systems.

Our focus includes:

  • supporting research that contributes to achieving health and social care net zero goals
  • building climate-resilient healthcare systems
  • research on promoting sustainable, healthy populations and communities

As well as UK-based research, we will fund research through our Global Health programme to improve the health outcomes of people in low and middle income countries affected by climate change.

Contact the NIHR Sustainability Team at with any questions or for further information.

Sustainable delivery of research

Building on our pilot project, there is an opportunity for existing award holders to undertake carbon reduction and sustainability activities to complement their awards.

Get in touch to find out more.

Current funding opportunities

NHS Health Research Authority environmental sustainability strategy

The NHS Health Research Authority (HRA) is an important partner in UK health and care research. Its environmental sustainability strategy: Making environmental sustainability the norm, outlines ways to meet the challenges of climate change.

The strategy sets out plans to become a carbon net zero organisation by 2050. It includes commitments to sustainable changes the HRA will make internally and explores ways to encourage changes externally.

It further commits to a three-year plan to work and consult with partners, including NIHR, on how we can reduce the impact of the wider research lifecycle on the planet.

Read the full strategy document.