SOPHIE - Seas, Ocean & Public Health in Europe | European Marine Board

SOPHIE - Seas, Ocean & Public Health in Europe

The European Commission has funded SOPHIE, a research programme which will help protect the ocean, harness its health benefits, and reduce its risks by bringing together marine and environmental scientists with medical and social scientists, public health and other experts.

Project type:

Coordinated Support Action (CSA), BG-06-2017: Interaction between people, oceans and seas: a strategic approach towards healthcare and well-being.


30 Months (2017-2020)


2 million Euros


8 partners


European Centre for Environmental and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, UK


EMB role:

Leader of WP6: Building a Future Policy-Relevant Oceans and Human Health Research Effort in Europe










Background and Objective

The central aim of the Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe (SOPHIE) Coordination and Support Action (CSA) is to advance significantly the coordination of multidisciplinary research and training in Europe to better manage the risks and opportunities presented by the complex interactions between the marine environment and human health and wellbeing. In doing so, SOPHIE will bring together researchers and practitioners from across two largely disparate communities: (i) the marine and maritime community; and (ii) the medical and public health community. SOPHIE will create a platform for these communities to work together to better understand both the potential threats to human health from degraded marine environments and the opportunities for human health promotion from sustainable interactions with coastal or ‘blue’ environments. In doing so, SOPHIE will build in Europe a coordinated community of researchers and practitioners within the relatively new and integrated meta-discipline of ‘Oceans and Human Health’ (OHH).

SOPHIE’s primary aims are to: a) deliver a clear, evidence-informed Oceans and Human Health Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) within the European context, based on extensive involvement by diverse stakeholders; and b) ensure that the structures needed to develop and implement this SRA are in place and will exist as a legacy beyond the life of the project.

These aims will be achieved by:

  • systematic synthesis of the current evidence base
  • developing and coordinating a European community of OHH stakeholders - to join the community, join the LinkedIn group at
  • identification of innovative solutions to sustainably reduce risks and promote benefits
  • scenario modelling and horizon scanning
  • knowledge exchange through bespoke training and skills programmes
  • a global OHH Conference to present SOPHIE’s findings and enhance European leadership and global cooperation in OHH research


European Marine Board Role

EMB is leader of Work Package 6 “Building a Future Policy-Relevant Oceans and Human Health Research Effort in Europe” and will also contribute to WP1, WP2 and WP3. The main output of WP6 will be a Strategic Research Agenda for Oceans and Human Health in Europe which will be published at the end of the project.

The Strategic Research Agenda contents is heavily influenced by input from an Expert Group, who have met at two dedicated workshop. You can find out what took place at those workshops using the links below:

You can see the event report for Workshop 1 - Dublin, April 2018

You can see the event report for Workshop 2 - Ostend, January 2019 and also the news item here.

The SRA will be launched at the final SOPHIE project People, Health and the Ocean Conference on 30 March 2020 in Brussels. Full details on the event can be found here.

If you want to find out more about our work in oceans and human health, you can do so here. You can find the news release about this project here.

SOPHIE Partners

  • European Centre for Environmental and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, UK
  • Seascape Consultants, Belgium
  • National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  • Stichting Deltares, The Netherlands
  • Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Millieu, The Netherlands
  • Breakaway Travel, Spain
  • Associacio SUBMON, Spain
  • European Marine Board, Belgium


Contact at European Marine Board Secretariat: Paula Kellett Email


SOPHIE is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No 774567