Sea Comms

Scientists are investigating how the environment we live in affects our health using a mobile phone app.

An app that will capture information from the public about their local natural environment is being developed by researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health in conjunction with communications company, Sea Communications.

The app will be available to multiple devices from desktop PCs to smartphones.

The research will ask participants to consider aspects of their environment and wellbeing and will chart their responses in the app.

The project aims to engage people with science and their environments, but also to increase understanding of how health may be related to habitat.

Analysis of these results will consider how the type of environment, as well as its state and condition might impact on human health and wellbeing.

Working with a commercial partner has been challenging but rewarding for the research team.

One of the project’s lead academics, Dr Rebecca Lovell, said: “Communication has been very important. We have found ways to express our respective knowledge and to find the compromises between the commercial, engagement driven approach and the academic, evidence centred perspective.”

The research team are seeking funding to roll the app out nationwide.

Initial funding for this project came from the University’s Open Innovation Fund, which provides seedcorn financial support to academics to enable engagement with business and industrial partners.