Climate and Health

The health effects of climate change are increasing worldwide. With this programme, ZonMw funds projects that develop knowledge on these health effects. The aim is to apply this knowledge by stimulating collaboration.

Pilot studies

The Climate and Health programme launched in 2020. Read about the pilot studies (only available in Dutch) that received funding for 2021-2023 in the first call for proposals. The programme is based on the Climate and Health Knowledge Agenda compiled by the University of Maastricht, Wageningen University & Research and the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), which surveys our current knowledge of the impact of climate change on human health, and identifies and prioritises knowledge needs. This is the knowledge required to reveal the effects of climate change and climate measures, and provide a basis for action. This ZonMw programme aims to develop knowledge and make it applicable, not least by encouraging collaboration. Below you will find 3 articles on how ZonMw increases knowledge and awareness on the theme of diversity and climate.

Jongetje zit in het gras met gele bloemen op de achtergrond en niest
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A pollen radar could improve quality of life for hay fever patients

Due to climate change, hay fever patients may experience more symptoms, and the number of patients is increasing. Researchers are developing a 'pollen showers radar' to improve the quality of life for hay fever patients.

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Tim Stobernack en Egid van Bree doorzoeken afval van een operatie. Om hen heen ligt een grote berg aan plastic slangen, handschoenen en isolatie-jassen.
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Research into sustainable hospital care

For the first time, a study is underway to examine the climate and environmental impact of individual healthcare trajectories in the hospital. The results, particularly expressed in kilograms of CO2 emissions, provide insights that can truly make healthcare more sustainable.

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Twee vrouwen zitten in een huis voor de ventilator. Het is duidelijk warm. Een vrouw wappert met haar hand om af te koelen en de andere vrouw drinkt een glas water.
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More older women than older men die during heatwaves

During (extreme) cold and heat, more people in the Netherlands die than during milder temperatures. During heatwaves, it is noticeable that in the age group above 65 years, more women die than men. The likely explanation for this lies in physiological and behavioral differences between men and women.

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Climate and Health

The global climate is changing, and the effects are felt everywhere, including the Netherlands. These effects, including flooding, changes in temperature, drought and difficulties gaining access to water, have a major impact on public health. Other impacts range from temperature-related health effects, allergies, water- and vector-borne diseases, food-related health effects and UV radiation to health effects related to air quality. Climate mitigation and the side-effects of climate adaptation measures can also impact on health, including climate resilience and climate-friendly measures in healthcare, as part of efforts to achieve sustainable care.

Goal and focuses of programme

The purpose of the first ZonMw call for proposals on this subject was to support a pilot study lasting a maximum of two years to develop knowledge in this area, in order to provide a basis for action in the Dutch context. The focus is on collaboration with parties outside the healthcare sector who are involved in climate adaptation, with a view to a long-term partnership (network) between research groups and relevant stakeholders who might not otherwise work together.

Topics of first call

This call is focused on three topics selected from the Climate & Health Knowledge Agenda:

  • Temperature-related health effects 
  • Allergies
  • Sustainable care

Duration and budget

The knowledge agenda requires a long-term programme. This was set in motion with the call for the first round of funding, totalling one million euro, which opened on 12 November 2020. The deadline for submission of proposals was 14 January 2021. In July 2021 we announced which projects would be awarded a grant for two years.

Download the Dutch knowledge agenda Climate and Health

‘Climate Adaptation and Health’ NWA programme

Another initiative is the ‘Climate Adaptation and Health’ programme, which is part of the National Science Agenda (NWA). Read about the projects being carried out by two research consortiums on our Climate change page. This programme, administered by ZonMw and the Dutch Research Council (NWO), is co-funded by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW), the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK).



  • Dr. J.M.M. (Sjaak) de Gouw


  • M. (Madeleen) Helmer


  • Drs. C.C. (Cathy) van Beek
  • Ir. J.H.M. (Josine) van den Bogaard
  • Prof. dr. J.M. (Jacqueline) Cramer
  • Ir. A. (Adriaan) van Engelen
  • Dr. J.C. (Hans) Gehrels
  • Dr. J.N.G. (Hanneke) Oude Elberink
  • M.A. (Margot) Ribberink


  • M.A. (Michiel) Hoorweg, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
  • V. (Viktor) Stöcker, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport


€ 1.000.000
Duration: 100%
Duration: 100 %


Frank Pierik

Senior programme manager
klimaat [at]

Marije van der Kamp

Programme secretary
klimaat [at]