A Public Health and Climate Change “Countdown” for Reading Town

The Lancet Countdown tracks the links between health and climate change at a global scale. We are working with Reading Climate Action Network to design and track indicators for the first town level “Countdown”. Candidate indicators include air pollution exposure, public and active transport, climate-linked hospital admissions, and power decarbonisation.

Department: Applied Economics & Marketing

Supervised by: Prof E J Z Robinson

The Placement Project

Reading Climate Action Network (ReadingCAN) brings together people and organisations actively trying to improve Reading town’s response to climate change. The ReadingCAN health theme has agreed to select and track on an annual basis key links between climate change and public health at the town level. This action research is motivated and sanctioned by the Lancet Countdown, which tracks the links between health and climate change at a global scale ( As such, this project represents a collaboration between the Lancet Countdown, for which Professor Robinson leads one of the working groups; ReadingCAN; and the University of Reading. The successful student placed on this proposed UROP project will address a number of linked questions: To what extent is climate change having a negative impact on the health of Reading residents, and is this getting worse or better over time; To what extent are actions by Reading town contributing to an improvement in, or worsening, health outcomes and climate change mitigation, and how is this changing over time; To what extent is Reading city successfully adapting to the negative impact of climate change on public health. To address these questions, we will select and track a subset of indicators from the 41 global indicators tracked by the Lancet Countdown. These might variously include exposure of school children to air pollution; use of public transport; participation in active transport; climate-linked hospital admissions, and decarbonisation in power and transport sectors.


Mentored and supported by Professor Robinson, the student will undertake the following activities: • Ranking (according to agreed criteria) and selection of the most relevant indicators for Reading town from the Lancet Countdown’s 41 global indicators • A rapid desk review of available data for each of the selected indicators (current and historic) • Interact with relevant members of ReadingCAN health theme to determine the feasibility of collecting additional/new data, and who the relevant contacts are. • Create at least two indicators that are relevant for tracking the linkages between public health and climate change at the local scale.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

IT skills (word processing), organisational skills, analytical skills, literature review skills, willingness to learn.

Skills which will be developed during the placement

Desk review skills, understanding of how to design a policy-relevant indicator, interview skills.

Place of Work

SAPD/University of Reading Whiteknights campus

Hours of Work

22 per week

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Wednesday 08 July 2020 - Wednesday 30 September 2020

How to Apply

The post will be advertised centrally on the UROP website between 24th February and 3rd April 2020. Students should submit their CV and Cover Letter directly to the Project Supervisor (click on supervisor name at the top of the page for email). Successful candidates will then be invited to interview.

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