Climate change affects the personal, social and environmental determinants of health: safe drinking water, clean air, nutritious food, and secure shelter. According to the World Health Organization, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030-2050. Direct health care costs (excluding costs to the agriculture, water and sanitation sectors), are estimated to be between $2-4 billion USD/year by 2030. Climate change affects us unequally; it is anticipated that areas and countries with limited health infrastructure will be the least able to manage and respond to climate change-associated health risks. 


Climate Data Expeditions: Climate and Health intends to consolidate Duke expertise to improve health by drawing on data to inform problem definition and design of solutions.  We can do this by 1) defining the direct and indirect impact of climate change on human health, 2) reducing climate-induced health threats across the human lifespan, 3) increasing health resilience from individuals to communities on a global scale, and 4) establishing data-based, informed public health policies. Because health impacts of climate change are mediated by interrelated environmental conditions, environmental exposures, and a host of social and behavioral factors, achieving these goals requires transdisciplinary teams.  


Data Expeditions: Climate and Health seeks to:

  1. Develop the necessary data infrastructure and literacy to generate knowledge of Climate + Health
  2. Leverage partnerships with external experts and community-level organizations to ensure implementation and impact.
  3. Innovate and translate discovery research to ensure findings are actionable and accessible.

Areas of Emphasis

Teams will consider data-intensive, evidence-driven research that could include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Defines the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on human health, including physical and mental health; 
  • Defines the effects of adaptation and mitigation strategies on health, from the mechanistic level to the population level; 
  • Evaluates the co-benefits of climate change mitigation, adaptation, policies, and interventions; 
  • Develops novel tools and biotechnology approaches to detect and quantify climate-mediated health impacts; 
  • Creates needed data infrastructure with attention to availability, usability, and access, alongside required physical infrastructure and intellectual networks; 
  • Leverages research and community partnerships to address environmental injustice and foster resilience; 
  • Cultivates domestic and international partnerships with reciprocal engagement in terms of effort, resources, and outcomes; 
  • Establishes community involvement as an integral part of research activities. That is, community partners co-create research agendas, and the research process reflects inclusive and equitable engagement by experts from academia, those with lived experience, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, and the private sector. 


The Principal Investigator (PI) must be at the regular rank Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor level, or have PI status per Duke’s written policy. Both MD and non-MD faculty may be Principal Investigators. Team members must have PI status to register for a planning grant token (details on the registration page).

Review & Awards

The proposal review process will include written review by peer reviewers and a team interview. 

Awards are anticipated to be $300,000-$500,000/year for two years. 

Timeline & Process

Team Formation (January – March 2022)

In an effort to lower the threshold for novel team formation and engagement, Data Expeditions: Climate and Health will use a token system for team formation. Each registration is worth $5,000 in planning grant funding, and tokens are redeemable only if teams include at least one faculty member from School of Medicine or School of Nursing, and a campus school (Trinity, Pratt, Nicholas School, Law, Fuqua) or University-wide institute, center or initiative. Tokens will be activated at the $15,000 level (3 participants). The maximum planning grant is $25,000 (5 participants). Funds for planning grants can be used to host meetings, food at meetings, invite external experts, and community engagement. 

  • Register as an individual
  • Find registered collaborators
  • Redeem planning grant tokens

Project Planning (April – June 2022)

  • A Request for Proposals (RFP) will be released to registered teams in May 2022.

Proposal Review (July – September 2022)

  • Submission of a proposal will be due in July 2022.
  • Funding decisions will be made by September 2022. 


  • Research commences October 2022.

Ask a Question

Questions about Data Expeditions: Climate and Health?

Please submit your question and someone will respond within 48 hours. We will develop a list of Frequently Asked Questions as we start to receive questions.