The Forum on Health, Environment and Development (FORHEAD), co-organized by the SSRC China Environment and Health Initiative, held its third Summer Institute in Guangzhou, South China at the end of June.
This week long workshop focused on capacity building for problem-oriented interdisciplinary research on environment, health and development. It was attended by more than 30 individuals with natural, medical and social science backgrounds from Beijing and provincial academic institutes (including government research centers) and from NGOs.
The Summer Institute is now linked to the application process for SSRC Collaborative Grants on Environment and Health in China. The institute therefore had two goals: 1) to introduce the key concepts and methods employed across the disciplines in the study of environment and health, including epidemiology, risk management, social psychology, and sociology, as well as research methods, frameworks for interdisciplinary analysis and relevant cases; and 2) to prepare collaborative grant applicants by inviting them to present their preliminary research plans and receive feedback from experts and other participants. The workshop also provided an opportunity for hands-on teamwork, as participants divided into groups and developed interdisciplinary research proposals relating to the problem of lead pollution. After five days of discussion and preparation, the five teams presented their proposals.
The summer institute is held in a different province of South China each year in order to attract more local participants, build up local networks and incubate studies on local environment and health issues. The program also features a day at a local university with presentations and discussion on local environment and health issues. This year the partner was Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, and local representatives from universities, academic institutes, and NGOs shared their research on water and soil pollution in the province.