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Dr White is renowned for his research uncovering the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature

Researcher wins award for work in understanding health benefits of time outside

A University of Exeter researcher has won a US award that recognises his achievements in researching the links between health and the natural environment.

Dr Mathew White, based in Truro, has received the 2020 SHIFT Award for his interdisciplinary research achievements linked to BlueHealth – understanding the benefits of oceans, rivers and other waterways on health and wellbeing.

The SHIFT Awards recognise individuals, initiatives, or organisations that make innovative, impactful and replicable contributions to the advancement of the health benefits of time outside.

Dr Mathew White from the University of Exeter and the University of Vienna, received the award at the 2020 SHIFT Summit, hosted virtually from the Unites States. He is one of the few researchers from outside of the US to win the Award.

Mathew is renowned for his research uncovering the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature. He said: “It’s an honour to receive an Award linked to the BlueHealth Project. The SHIFT Summit is a great example of sectors working together to promote the sustainable and fair management of natural resources, so that everyone can enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits. Funded by Horizon 2020, the BlueHealth Project has been investigating how urban blue spaces affect people’s health and wellbeing across Europe for the last four years. Our research findings have been widely cited globally, demonstrating the growing importance of this field.”

The Summit welcomed experts to discuss how the public health benefits of nature can be leveraged to ensure its protection, especially following the pandemic.

BlueHealth’s Dr Mireia Gascon from IS Global, joined Mathew to present BlueHealth findings at the event – translating the Project’s evidence into practice. They talked about the health benefits of spending time in, on, or near, quality blue spaces, while drawing on practical case studies to make evidence-based recommendations on how to manage natural resources for the future.

Date: 16 October 2020

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