Linking Human Health and Wellbeing with Weather, Climate, and the Environment: MED-MI (Medical and Environmental Data - a Mash-up Infrastructure)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: University of Exeter Medical School

Abstract

A large part of the global disease burden can be linked to environmental factors, including climate change, habitats for disease vectors, and chemical hazards, underpinned by unhealthy behaviours. Indeed, in 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that at least 24% of the global disease burden and 23% of global deaths could currently be attributed to such factors. In the future, with climate change, these environmental factors are predicted to have even greater impacts on human health and wellbeing. However, the research into these linkages remains fragmentary, suffering from the lack of common tools and databases for carrying out investigations across the many different scientific and business expertise and resources needed to explore these complex associations.

The proposed Partnership will bring together leading organisations and researchers in climate, weather, environment, and human health and wellbeing: the European Centre of Environment and Human Health (European Centre) at the University of Exeter Medical School, the UK Met Office, the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA), and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

The main aim is to create a central data and analysis source as an internet-based Platform which will be a vital new common resource for medical and public health research in the UK and beyond. Human health, the environment, and climate are intricately interconnected. Climate change already has a profound effect on these relationships. To effectively investigate and understand, we need to link and analyse complex meteorological, environmental, and epidemiological data. This is a vital step to translate this data and analysis resource into epidemiologic, clinical, and commercial collaborative applications, and thus, improved human health and wellbeing in a rapidly changing environment. Translational applications will:
a) facilitate novel research into environmental exposures and health using integrated models;
b) rapidly identify "hot spots" (locations and points in time with convergent increased environmental and human health risks) for targeted prevention, interventions, and research;
c) provide healthcare practitioners, public health planners, and environmental managers with relevant information for improving services for locations and populations identified at risk;
d) initiate and evaluate interventions to reduce the exposures, and thereby the health effects at both the individual and population levels;
e) disseminate and provide access to data as part of outreach and engagement with the research community, policymakers and civil society.
Existing databases, currently stored in various locations and organisations, will be combined. This will enable climate, weather and environment data to be linked and analysed with human health and wellbeing data. With appropriate confidentiality and ethical safeguards, the Platform will be available to UK and other researchers.

We will use a set of themed Demonstration Projects to demonstrate the uses of the Platform. The following Demonstration Projects have been identified because of: the availability of suitable data sets; the impact of weather and the environment on human health and wellbeing; and the potential clinical and public health relevance, especially in vulnerable populations; initial Projects selected are in the environment and health areas of:
1. Extreme temperatures, air quality, and mortality
2. Climate, weather, and infectious diseases
3. Climate, coastal & ocean dynamics, and harmful algal blooms (HABS) "blue sky" initiative

We will translate and communicate the products, presence, and value of the Platform through the Demonstration Projects, workshops, and an accessible web Portal. New collaborators and partner organisations (including business), in the UK and throughout the world, will be invited to collaborate, use, and further build the Platform.

Technical Summary

The proposed unique strategic Partnership will create a central data and analysis the MED-MI Platform (Medical and Environmental Data Mash-up Infrastructure) to link and analyse complex meteorological, environmental, and epidemiological data, building on the emerging data "mash-up" field of computational science (i.e. combining data to create new applications and resources). The Partnership will provide the cost effective unique structure and resources needed to perform the complex tasks proposed:

a) Establish the database management system and MED-MI Platform;
b) Perform the data "mash-up" by linking datasets with appropriate quality control/confidentiality;
c) Explore feasibility and vision of the Platform using Partnership Demonstration Projects;
d) Establish an initial website, and later, a portal for use by outside entities and individuals;
e) Strengthen and explore collaborations (including additional pilot projects) with outside entities;
f) Disseminate the MED-MI Platform;
g) Develop and seek future funding for new collaborations to sustain the Strategic Partnership.
Existing databases in a consistent temporal and spatial framework to enable climate, weather and environment data will be linked and analysed with human health and wellbeing data. Supported by Univ Exeter IT System, the Platform will be available to outside researchers with appropriate ethical safeguards.

We will assess and illustrate feasibility and translational value of the Platform using Demonstration Projects. These Projects are selected based on: the availability of suitable data sets; predicted impact of weather and environment on human health and wellbeing; and potential clinical and public health relevance, especially in vulnerable populations. The Partnership will translate and communicate the products, presence, and value of the Platform through Demonstration Projects, workshops, and an accessible Web Portal seeking new collaborations for growth and sustainability.

Planned Impact

This is a Partnership Grant application, and as such is designed to provide the shared resource needed to facilitate further research and collaboration. As described in Academic Beneficiaries and Communication Plan, its primary impact will be to enable the wider research community to engage in novel research into the relationships between climate, weather, environment, and human health and wellbeing.
The MED-MI Platform will create academic impact. A network or "cloud" of researchers will form around this novel and unique Partnership and resource, bringing together leaders in the health and environmental disciplines. By creating a dedicated central data and analysis "mash-up" resource, MED-MI will deliver a new capability for medical and public health research: the ability to rapidly identify 'hot spots' in time and space where increased risks to human health from environmental parameters can be targeted for research, interventions, and forward planning.

MED-MI will also create socio-economic impact. In particular, mortality and morbidity rates within vulnerable cohorts (e.g. the elderly) will be reduced by improving the amount, detail, and accuracy of forecasts and warnings. Such information needs to be developed with, and delivered by, a range of actors within the health sector (including GPs, and knowledge-based businesses, policy makers, and public health). For this reason, dissemination and focused engagement are key elements of the MED-MI Platform.

Our current and potential collaborators and partners are listed elsewhere in this proposal (Tables 2A and 2B), but three illustrative collaborations to highlight are the Clinical Practice Research Data (CPRD), the Environmental Virtual Observatory [EVO] (Reading and Leeds Universities, and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), and the Collaborative Statistical Research Group at Southampton University and Glasgow University. The first is a resource for health researchers, the second for those interested in sharing environmental data across the cloud, and the third for those interested in the methodologies, analysis and interpretation of large linked datasets. MED-MI will be designed alongside all these partners, will synergistically contribute new dimensions to all, and will thus maximise the value of investments made across different UK research councils.

Ultimately we have developed the MED-MI proposal in order to make a contribution to a wider social and economic impact. We want to provide this infrastructure so that the impact of the environment on human health, and of the weather and climate in particular, is planned for and ultimately reduced. We know that this is a pressing concern for the future under the UK, regional, and worldwide climate change scenarios. The concept of the MED-MI Platform is to provide the resources needed to underpin those investigations and interventions. We have been closely involved in a number of other projects in the run up to this re-submission, and we have discussed with them what needs to be done technically to support the kinds of research that in turn can support decision-making and policy development. As examples, this is the case with both the PULSE-Brazil project and the Air Quality and Health project. MED-MI will be able to learn from these initiatives, and vice versa, in order to manage governance and communications issues to our mutual gain and our maximal impact. Ultimately, the research and products produced by MED-MI and its collaborators should impact on medical and public health policy and planning as described in the Case for Support.

As discussed in the Communication Plan, these impacts will be underpinned by dedicated spend on the webinars, conferences, presentations at scientific conferences, documentation, collaborative publications, development of business and service relationships and products, and on the development of the website itself (details of which can be found in the justification of resources).
 
Description Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health
Amount £700,000 (GBP)
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2014 
End 03/2019
 
Description NERC CASE studentship
Amount £85,112 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/M010252/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 09/2019
 
Description NERC Impact Accelerator Funding Pilot 2
Amount £3,225 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2013 
End 03/2014
 
Title MEDMI platform 
Description MEDMI has developed a platform which will enable better access to large scale environmental and health data. The platform consists of a website, database, a number of data processing and extraction tools and some web application tools for accessing and linking data. The platform demonstrates several different ways that can be used for extracting and linking environmental and health data. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The platform has only recently been created and shared, so early days for measuring impact. Training has been provided to potential users and the platform is being publicised through conferences and workshops. 
URL http://data-mashup.org.uk
 
Title Air Quality Data 
Description MEDMI funded a pilot project, which has produced estimates of air quality for four of the most harmful pollutants in England and Wales for the five year period 2007-2011. The data is available on the MEDMI website (www.data-mashup.org.uk). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The work has led to a successful application for EPSRC Impact Acceleration Funds to put the data and tools developed by Sujit Sahu and colleagues for a previous EPSRC project (on air quality data) onto the MEDMI platform. 
 
Title List of all peer reviewed publications from MRC NERC MEDMI Project Feb 2019 
Description List of all peer reviewed publications from MRC NERC MEDMI Project Feb 2019 1 Development of a browser application to foster research on linking climate and health datasets: challenges & opportunities S. Hajat, C. Whitmore, L. Fleming, C. Sarran; A. Haines; B. Golding; H.Gordon-Brown; A. Kessel ACCEPTED Science for the Total Environment 2016;575:79-86. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.09.162. 2 The Weather and Meniere's Disease: a longitudinal analysis in the UK Schmidt W, Sarran C, Ronan N, Barrett G, Whinney DJ, Fleming LE, Osborne NJ, Tyrrell J. ACCEPTED Otology Neurotology 2017;38(2):225-233 doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000001270 3 The seasonality and effects of temperature and rainfall on Campylobacter infections Djennad, Abdelmajid, Lo Iacono, Giovanni, Sarran, Christophe., Lane, Christopher., Elson, Richard. Höser, Christophe, Lake, Iain, Colón-González, Felipe J., Kovats, Sari6, Semenza, Jan C.7 Bailey, Trevor C., Kessel, Anthony, Fleming, Lora E., Nichols, Gordon L. ACCEPTED BMJ Infectious Diseases 4 A comparison of weather variables linked to infectious disease patterns using laboratory addresses and patients' home addresses Djennad, Abdelmajid, Lo Iacono, Giovanni, Sarran, Christophe, Fleming, Lora E., Kessel, Anthony, Haines, Andy, Nichols, Gordon L. ACCEPTED Djennad A, Lo Iacono G, Sarran C, Fleming LE, Kessel A, Haines A, Nichols GL. A comparison of weather variables linked to infectious disease patterns using laboratory addresses and patient residence addresses. BMC Infectious Diseases (2018:18:198 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-018-3106-9 5 Pathogen seasonality and links with weather in England and Wales: A big data time series analysis Mark P. C. Cherrie; Gordon Nichols; Gianni Lo Iacono; Christophe Sarran; Shakoor Hajat; Lora E. Fleming ACCEPTED Cherrie MPC, Nichols G, Lo Iacono G, Sarran C, Hajat S, Fleming LE. Pathogen seasonality and links with weather in England and Wales: A big data time series analysis. BMC Public Health In Press 6 Osteoporosis M. Cherrie, N. Osborne M. Cherrie and N. Osborne working on paper now data received from UK Biobank. And Masters student now involved May end up as 2 papers 7 Pollen exposure and hospitalization due to asthma exacerbations: daily time series in a European city Osborne N,Alcock I, Wheeler BW, Hajat S, Sarran C, Clewlow Y, MacInnes RN, Hemming D, White M, Vardoulakis S, Fleming LE ACCEPTED International Journal of Biometerology Osborne NH, Alcock I, Wheeler BW, Hajat S, Sarran C, Clewlow Y, McInnes RN, Hemming D, White M, Vardoulakis S, Fleming LE. Pollen exposure and hospitalization due to asthma exacerbations: daily time series in a European city. International Journal of Biometeorology Int J Biometeorol. 2017 Oct;61(10):1837-1848. doi: 10.1007/s00484-017-1369-2. Epub 2017 May 12. 8 Medication use does not increase the risk of heat related illness among type 2 diabetes patients: a crossover analysis of over 4 million GP consultations across England S. Hajat. L. Fleming, A. Haines ACCEPTED Hajat S, Haines, A, Sarran C, Sharma A, Bates C, Fleming LE. The effect of ambient temperature on type-2-diabetes: case-crossover analysis of 4+ million GP consultations across England. Environ Health. 2017; 16: 73. Published online 2017 Jul 12. doi: 10.1186/s12940-017-0284-7 PMCID: PMC5506566 9 Concealment and Discovery: The Role of Information Security in Biomedical Data Re-Use" to Social Studies of Science N. Tempini, S. Leonelli ACCEPTED Social Studies of Science 2018, Vol. 48(5) 663 -690 10 Big Data in Environment and Human Health: Challenges and Opportunities Fleming LE, Tempini N, Gordon-Brown H, Nichols G, Sarran C, Vineis P, Leonardi G, Golding B, Haines A, Kessel A, Murray V, Depledge M, Leonelli S. ACCEPTED Oxford Research Encyclopedia on Environment and Human Health April 2017 11 Challenges with methods for quantifying the effects of weather and climate on water associated diseases Giovanni Lo Iacono, Ben Armstrong, Lora E. Fleming, Richard Elson, Sari Kovats, Sotiris Vardoulakis, Gordon L.Nichols ACCEPTED Lo Iacono, G., Armstrong, B., Fleming, L. E., Elson, R., Kovats, S., Vardoulakis, S., & Nichols, G. L. (2017). Challenges in developing methods for quantifying the effects of weather and climate on water-associated diseases: A systematic review. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 11(6), e0005659. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0005659 12 Asthma hospitalizations are related to land cover, and its interaction with background air pollutants I Alcock, M White, M Cherrie, B W Wheeler, C Sarran, S Ireneous, S Vardoulakis, R N McInnes, L E Fleming ACCEPTED Environment International Environ Int. 2017 Sep 16;109:29-41. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.08.009. [Epub ahead of print] 13 Biomedical Knowledge Production in the Age of Big Data Leonelli S ACCEPTED Swiss Research Council November 2017 http://www.swir.ch/images/stories/pdf/en/Exploratory_study_2_2017_Big_Data_SSIC_EN.pdf 14 Modelling the Impact of Environment on Infectious Diseases. Lo Iacono Giovanni, Nichols Gordon L ACCEPTED Oxford Research Encyclopedia on Environment and Human Health Sep 2017 DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199389414.013.339 15 Where health and environment meet: the use of invariant parameters in big data analysis Leonelli S, Tempini N ACCEPTED in Big Data Analysis. Synthese. Special issue "Philosophy of Epidemiology" edited by Sean Valles and Jonathan Kaplan. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-018-1844-2 (2018) 16 Scoping the Proximal and Distal Dimensions of Climate Change on Health and Wellbeing. Morris GP, Reis S, Beck S, Fleming LE, Adger WN, Benton TG, Depledge MH. ACCEPTED Environment International 2017: 16(Suppl 1):116 DOI 10.1186/s12940-017-0329-y 17 Modelling the impact of fuel poverty and energy efficiency on health Sharpe R, Wheeler B et al ACCEPTED Report of a study funded by Eaga Charitable Trust with plans to finalize the Report and to submit for peer review publication 18 La Ricerca Scientifica Nell'Era Dei Big Data. Leonelli, S. ACCEPTED Meltemi Editore. [book - ISBN Not assigned yet] Forthcoming 2018. 19 Re-Thinking Reproducibility as a Criterion for Research Quality. Leonelli, S. ACCEPTED Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology 2. Special issue "Curiosity, Imagination and Surprise" edited by Marcel Boumans. (in press, 2018) 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact interdisciplinary peer reviewed publications and reports in big data and human health through 2019 
URL https://www.dropbox.com/s/syxteyudxftbydv/DRAFT%20MEDMI%20Papers%20Feb%2021%202019.docx?dl=0
 
Title MEDMI Data Access Control 
Description MEDMI data is available through a variety of means: by dialling into the MEDMI server and database; through one of the web application tools that have been developed and by requesting data from the database manager. A data access system has been established for access to database and tools. Some of the data held by MEDMI can be made available to any researchers, but some data can only be released to researchers who have been given permission by the data holders. This is handled by access controls on the server and by having different versions of the web application tools, including one that requires a secure login. 
Type Of Material Data handling & control 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Database model is still being developed. It has enabled some researchers to access data data to link to other data for their research (ie in the Menieres pilot project) and the SAIL pilot project. 
 
Title MEDMI Database 
Description The core MEDMI Database consists of Met Office weather and climate observations (9.5 billion values in 673 datasets), Met Office gridded daily climate data (843 million values in 4 datasets), DEFRA air quality monitoring measurements (142 million values in 47 datasets), 18060 stratospheric ozone measurements and 6.4 million PHE infectious disease records. Other data include pollen emitting taxa distributions and modelled hourly air pollutant concentrations hind-casts and climate projections. The MEDMI Database module has been developed in Python to facilitate the extraction, statistical processing and linkage of the data. The module comprises an Extract object to select data from the database and a Dataset object that generates estimates of environmental exposure at any location and time. A Record object has also been developed linking infectious disease records to environmental estimates. These objects rely on some 39 functions that, amongst other things, provide the user with different data processing methods such as temporal and spatial arithmetic means, inverse-distance-weighted means, magnitude and argument of complex arithmetic means. At present all datasets are restricted to MEDMI partners only, however (a) some datasets are already in the public domain (DEFRA air quality, stratospheric ozone) and (b) legal approval is being sought to release further datasets for public use. Nevertheless, some datasets such as the infectious disease records are sensitive and can only be accessed by a limited number of users to ensure medical confidentiality. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Training has recently been provided to potential users of the database module. Three training sessions took place in November 2016 and interested users (both academic researchers) and public health analysts attended the training. 
 
Description EPHSS 
Organisation Public Health England
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Developed a feasability project to test and demonstrate whether possible to link MEDMI datasets with EPHSS platform. The testing was successful, so a web interface was developed between the EPHSS platform and the MEDMI servers, which enables data requests to be called from the EPHSS platform (based on a series of drop down menus). The partnership was developed by the MEDMI research team. One of the investigators at the Met Office has developed a database module for MEDMI, which EPHSS links with.
Collaborator Contribution Public Health England's Environmental Tracking Group have worked with MEDMI to explore and develop this partnership. They have provided a software developer who has developed the web interface, in collaboration with research scientist at the Met Office.
Impact Web interface on the EPHSS website, that will enable researchers to more easily extract data from the MEDMI platform. This has also been a feasability test for EPHSS to see whether it is possible to link with an external resource to provide environmental data.
Start Year 2015
 
Description HABs Data 
Organisation Centre For Environment, Fisheries And Aquaculture Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Supervising NERC funded PhD student with expertise in the study of Harmful Algae Blooms (Lora Fleming at the University of Exeter). Rosa Barciela at the Met Office will be working with the PhD student to share knowledge of modelling....
Collaborator Contribution Supervising PhD student and providing data...
Impact Funding of Phd. Linking of data.
Start Year 2015
 
Description HABs Data 
Organisation Scottish Association For Marine Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Supervising NERC funded PhD student with expertise in the study of Harmful Algae Blooms (Lora Fleming at the University of Exeter). Rosa Barciela at the Met Office will be working with the PhD student to share knowledge of modelling....
Collaborator Contribution Supervising PhD student and providing data...
Impact Funding of Phd. Linking of data.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Pilot Project - Menieres 
Organisation University of Exeter
Department Medical School
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Providing environmental data for analysis.
Collaborator Contribution A pilot study to replicate and enhance analysis of data collected from the Menieres mobile phone app, to examine the impact of atmospheric pressure on Menieres symptoms.
Impact Enhanced dataset on the MEDMI server.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Pilot Project - Osteoporosis and Solar Irradiance 
Organisation University of Exeter
Department Medical School
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of Met Office environmental data and funding for data from the UK Biobank.
Collaborator Contribution Research into the cumulative ambient UV exposure of participants in the UK Biobank cohort on bone mineral density, looking particularly at osteoporosis.
Impact Publication currently being prepared for submission.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Pilot Project - Pollen 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution A researcher working on MEDMI at the Met Office worked with a colleague at the Met Office to create linkage tools for pre-processing pollen data.
Collaborator Contribution The Met Office provided additional resources to enable this work to be completed.
Impact Atmospheric pollen monitoring in the UK is carried out by the National Pollen Monitoring Network coordinated by the Met Office. The network consists of 10-20 sites. Counts of pollen grains, are used to forecast levels of pollen on a regional basis. This pilot project offered the first step towards statistical estimates of atmospheric pollen concentration by linking pollen and meteorological datasets and using a Gaussian plume model to link with a high resolution land cover map. Datasets and tools were developed, which will contribute to the aim of providing estimates of atmospheric pollen concentrations at any location in the UK. Further work will be undertake to complete these estimates.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Pilot Project - Regression trawling of pathogen seasonality 
Organisation Public Health England
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution A colleague at PHE working on MEDMI provided supervision and infectious disease data for analysis. Colleagues at the Met Office provided environmental data.
Collaborator Contribution Development of a tool that can be used as a means of narrowing down some of over 2000 pathogens that might be directly or indirectly influenced by weather. This study undertook a trawl of regression associations between individual weather parameters and disease occurrence in England and Wales over 25 years.
Impact Generated a table with 36 pathogen serotypes and detailed their potential links with climate. A paper is currently being finalised for submission on this work. Supplementary to the paper, an Rshiny app was developed for widespread dissemination of results. The user is able to filter the pathogens by seasonality, prevalence and serotype.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Pilot Project - SAIL 
Organisation Secure Anonymised Information Linkage Databank
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution MEDMI requested applications for pilot project funding in January 2015 with a deadline in March 2015. It promoted this opportunity to MEDMI partners and other institutions that the researchers on the project have been in discussion with. 8 applications were submitted. Following an evaluation process, 6 pilot projects were funded (upto a maximum of £5,000) each. All of the pilot projects had to explore a new linkage between environmental and health data. The pilot project with SAIL studied the association between neighbourhood characteristics (greenspace and proximity to the coast) and childhood obesity. The work was undertake by Ben Wheeler at Exeter Unversity's European Centre for Environmental and Human Health and Sarah Rodgers and Richard Fry from SAIL.
Collaborator Contribution Researchers from some of the partners were on the assessment panel for the process. Other researchers put together proposals with new partners, or encouraged colleagues to apply.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2015
 
Description Pilot Project - evaluation 
Organisation University of Exeter
Department Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Members of the MEDMI research team will be interviewed about their experience with MEDMI.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Sabina Leonelli is undertaking the project "Tracing Data Journeys Across Climate, Environment and Human Health: A Qualitative Study of MEDMI". This will be a case-study for Dr Leonelli's European Research Council's grant "The Epistemology of Data-Intensive Science". It will look in particular at the challenges in data integration, storage, dissemination and re-use identified by project participants and how those relate to international developments in data infrastructure, Open Data practices and relevant guidelines and policies. It will thus position MEDMI alongside other major data integration projects in the biological and biomedical sciences that are currently investigated by the "Data Science" project.
Impact No outcomes yet, as collaboration just started.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Pilot project - statistical downscaling of gridded air quality data 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Met Office colleagues provided data (Atmospheric dispersion tool) and linkage to data held on MEDMI server.
Collaborator Contribution The project built on work already undertaken at Southampton under the ESCRC funded project "A rigorous statistical framework for estimating the long-term health effects of air pollution". the project developed, tested and produced computer codes to enhance the AURN air quality data, thus providing MEDMI with the AQUM hind-casts and tools to link these data with AURN data already available from MEDMI, so that researchers can estimate air pollutant concentrations at any location along with their uncertainties.
Impact Data still being worked on.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Seeking Partners for MEDMI Pilot Projects 
Organisation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Country New Zealand 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are discussing possible collaborations using TPP dataset
Collaborator Contribution so far phone calls
Impact none yet
Start Year 2014
 
Description Seeking additional pilot projects for MEDMI 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council
Department Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are discussing possible collaborations around environment and health
Collaborator Contribution only phone calls to date
Impact non yet
Start Year 2014
 
Description collaborations with Public Health England Environmental public health surveillance system (EPHSS) 
Organisation Public Health England
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution collaborations with Public Health England Environmental public health surveillance system (EPHSS) to set up link of MEDMI data with the ongoing website of EPHSS as well as create an interface so that registered researchers can use the MEDMI data more easily
Collaborator Contribution collaborations with Public Health England Environmental public health surveillance system (EPHSS) to set up link of MEDMI data with the ongoing website of EPHSS as well as create an interface so that registered researchers can use the MEDMI data more easily EHPSS is now working with the Met Office to seek additional funding and resources for MEDMI
Impact in 2017 the interface will be available to registered researchers on the MEDMI Website as well as linked with ESPHSS
Start Year 2015
 
Title Browser interface for extracting MEDMI data 
Description A browser interface has been developed with PHE's Environmental Public Health Surveillance System. This enables users to select parameters from a series of drop down menus and then download and extract data held on the MEDMI servers. The interface will sit on the EPHSS website. The web-application service will allow users to query, view and download MEDMI datasets by configuring a variety of parameters. This browser interface will make MEDMI data more widely available to researchers, as no programming/coding skills are required (unlike the database module that has also been developed by MEDMI). 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact The interface has been completed and is now in the testing phase. It will be made publicly available to researchers and public health practitioners in February 2017. It is therefore too early at this stage to determine its impact. 
 
Title Database module and data visualisation module 
Description A python based database module has been developed to enable users to extract and link datasets held on the MEDMI servers. The database module enables users to access and extract data more efficiently and through various processing tools, enables environmental and health data to be linkable. In addition a visualisation tool that shows time-series and spacial data has been developed for the database module. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Environmental data held on MEDMI is more accessible and usable for researchers. 
 
Title Internet Browser for data linkage and statistical analyses 
Description This project has developed a robust proof of concept for using a web-based browser to access and interrogate data. Using statistical approaches, it has shown that a web application can link and analyse different datasets in an accurate, rigorous and user-friendly manner. Bringing together Met Office data on climate variables, daily ozone measurements and ONS Mortality data for London over a 5 year period, the project initially sought to replicate research that linked temperature, air quality, and death rates using time series regression analysis. The approach was to have user-friendly input screens to guide the user through the process, so they can perform their analysis without the necessary technical skills of some statistical software packages (ie Stata). Having successfully replicated the research, the browser was extended to incorporate additional datasets such as pollen and daily emergency hospital admissions data - demonstrating how the application could be readily adapted to combine datasets from different sources and give users the ability to explore new hypotheses (additional data is available through the full version of the app). The application is built on open source technologies including PostgreSql database and the Python web framework Django. PostgreSql was used as it has advanced spatial libraries, which would allow for the application to be developed further to include spatial analysis. Python includes a number of statistical packages which we could leverage, as well as being able to run in a web application using Django. The client is built using Bootstrap and Angularjs to allow for a user-friendly responsive graphical user interface with visualizations such as charts. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact It has demonstrated the ability to develop and use a web-browser as an alternative to statistical packages, as a way of linking environmental and health data. Also shows how different versions of the browser can exist, as a way of restricting access for more confidential data. There are two version of the browser - one is public access, the other requires researchers to apply for access and is controlled through a login process. 
URL https://medmi.data-mashup.org.uk/#/tool/info
 
Title Shiny app 
Description An Rshiny app was developed to show results linking environmental parameters with infectious disease data (including 36 pathogen serotypes that were identified as being influenced by seasonality). 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Still being finalised. 
URL https://markcherrie.shinyapps.io/medmi_app/
 
Title Visualisation tool for examining the seasonality of infectious diseases 
Description This study has created an application which allows users to examine relationships between seasonal environmental changes and infectious diseases.Combining regression modelling with visualisation techniques, the application provides a tool to interrogate a number of data sources and quickly explore potential relationships. It has combined Met Office data on climate variables with Public Health England's infectious disease databases. This tool is currently under construction and will be available to use shortly. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Product still being developed. 
 
Description Advisory Board Meeting 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The activities, vision and research of the MEDMI Programme were presented to the MEDMI Advisory Board. The Advisory Board who include the Director of the IRISH EPA, the Director of the UK Met Office, and various academic researchers as well as patient and community representatives gave targeted feedback, vision and recommendations

this lead to refocus of the MEDMI vision and goals as well as increased number of potential collaborative contacts
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Advisory Board Meeting 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact An update on project activities and achievements was presented, as well as a discussion around some of the challenges the project has faced and lessons learnt. Input was obtained from members of the advisory board about ways to tackle some of these issues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Advisory Board Meeting 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A series of presentations about the work undertaken by MEDMI researchers was made, including some of the pilot projects funded by the project. A demonstration of the project website, browser tool and visualisation tool were made.

Discussions were held around challenges and opportunities of the project going forward.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Climate, Weather and Health Workshop. WMO/WHO sponsored meeting UK Met Office Exeter UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact invited session chair and facilitator.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Connecting Big Data in Environment and Human Health 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Purpose: To explore, demonstrate and discuss ongoing activities in the UK and EU on connecting big data on environment and human health, particularly focusing on lessons learned, areas for collaboration and interconnection, and future challenges and opportunities.
All sessions were attended by all participants. The initial session featured Key Note Speakers from academia, business, government, and the third sector, followed by invited panelists discussing: 1) examples of current Big Data Resources/Collaborations, and 2) lessons learned and other challenges. The majority of the Session time were devoted to participant discussions and interactions.

60+ people attended from academia, business and government with positive evaluation results

funding leveraged from MRC NERC funded MEDMI, the NERC Accelerator Programme, the NIHR HPRU in Environmental Change and Health and ERDF


A greater appreciation of the enablers and barriers to the linkage and use of environment and health big data was gained by all participants
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.ecehh.org/events/big-data-workshop/
 
Description Investigators Meeting with external collaborators 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We invited individuals from six institutions that could be potential collaborators with MEDMI. They were given information about MEDMI and there was discussion about potential collaboration opportunities. The institutions represented included UK Biobank, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, European Centre for Disease Control, TPP and NIHR's Health Protection Unit in Environment and Human Health. These institutions either hold data that MEDMI would like to access, or they have experience of data linkage.

It was also an opportunity to present the pilot project scheme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description OGC (Open Geo Spacial) Health Domain Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Gave a presentation on the MEDMI project to the working group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation to British Audiology Society's Balance Interest Group Meeeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation was made on "The Meniere's Monitor: Self Management Potential and Rich Research Data"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Training on MEDMI Database Module and Visualisation tools 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Three training sessions on the MEDMI database module and visualisation tool were organised at the Met Office in November 2016. The training was to show potential users how they can extract and link data that is held on the MEDMI platform, using the MEDMI database module.

The training was attended by researchers involved in the MEDMI project, as well as other potential users from the Met Office, Public Health England, University of Exeter, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In addition, there were people from local public health trusts (including Dorset Public Health).

Due to demand, two further training sessions are being run in Jan/Feb 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Workshop at Royal Meteorological Society Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A workshop was run on "MEDMI: opportunities for data mash-up infrastructure linking weather and health".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Workshop with UK Biobank 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact MEDMI recently organised a workshop with the UK Biobank titled "Capitalising on the Potential of UK Biobank for Environmental Change, Health and Sustainability Research". The event took place at the Wellcome Trust in London on 17th November 2015.

The aim of the workshop was to explore, demonstrate and discuss ongoing and future research linking environment and human health with a particular focus on the opportunities presented by the UK Biobank. Researchers from both MEDMI and UK Biobank were present, as well as other academics who have used UK Biobank for their research.

There were presentations by UK Biobank and researchers (Dr Jessica Tyrrell, Professor John Gallacher, Dr Susan Hodgson and Dr Nick Osborne) who have all used UK Biobank to look at various aspects of the impact of the environment on health and well-being. (For presentations click here).

This was followed by two panel discussions. The first looked at lessons learned, challenges and opportunities of linking health and environmental data. A number of interesting issues were raised including confidentiality, complications of linking different types of data, ownership of linked data, storage, technical interface and legal issues.

The second panel highlighted the rich and diverse array of environmental data resources that exist with panellists from the Met Office, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Environment Agency, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC),the Centre for Environment and Hydrology (CEH) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

The workshop concluded with a session considering the types of research questions that could be answered if these health and environmental data resources can be linked, as well as the need to prioritise the issues that are looked at. The need for multi-disciplinary teams and research was stressed, which draws in policy makers, other stakeholders (including business), as well as the research community. The opportunity of the forthcoming release of environmental data from DEFRA was also highlighted.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.data-mashup.org.uk/news/example-news-post/