Research Projects

The International Cognitive Health and Environment Network currently has two main research projects.

ICHEN research projects support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

SDG 3: Good health and well-being

Our research projects seek to understand how urban environments and/or lifestyle behaviours can be modified to promote health across different geographical and cultural contexts.

Findings will inform public health, urban planning, transportation and environmental protection practices and policies for the creation of urban environments that support active and healthy populations.


SDG 4: Quality Education

Our projects look into the effects of education-related factors on health; and the extent to which educational attainment moderates the effects of the environment and lifestyle behaviours on health.

Understanding environmental and behavioural vulnerabilities of individuals with lower educational attainment with respect to health will help the development of health-enhancing interventions tailored to individuals with lower education levels

SDG 5: Gender Equality

Our studies recruit a balanced number of males and females. The projects examine gender or sex differences in factors associated with health.

A better understanding of the environmental and lifestyle factors associated with gender or sex differences in health can inform gender/sex-specific preventive strategies for the promotion of health

SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities 

SDG 13: Climate action

SDG 15: Life on land

Our projects examine the effects of urban design and the built and natural environment on air pollution and noise, and their effects on physical, mental, and cognitive health. The projects also aim to identify factors that promote active transport and reduce the need for motorised transport.

Our projects will help cement the importance of creating healthy and sustainable cities and communities and trigger multi-sectoral policy changes. An understanding of how the built and natural environments contribute to air and noise pollution is necessary to inform environmental interventions and environmental protection, transport and urban planning policies.Finding ways to replace car trips with public and active transport trips can have major beneficial impacts on climate, life on land and the sustainability of cities.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Our projects collect information on socio-economic status, paid, and unpaid work. iMAP also collects information on the quality of relationships at work. 

By finding ways to promote health, the projects contribute to the employability and productivity of various segments of the population. The analysis of iMAP data on work status, time use, relationships at work, affective states and cognitive function will allow the identification of optimal work conditions for productivity and well-being.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

Our studies recruit a balanced number of residents from low- and high-income areas. our iMAP study examines the effects of individual- and area-level income on health-related outcomes.

The identification of individual- and area-level factors that increase individual resilience to financial hardship is needed to inform interventions for the reduction of inequalities. Environmental and community interventions that reduce the risk of ill health contribute to increasing individual- and community-level socio-economic status

SDG 17: Partnership for the goals

All research projects are interdisciplinary. They include epidemiology, geography, psychology, environmental science, urban planning, transportation, sociology, psychiatry, physiology and statistics. They address practical issues and look for practical solutions.

The projects have developed partnerships with national and international policymakers and NGOs (e.g., Dementia Australia, Environmental Protection Authority – Victoria, Department of Transport, National Seniors Australia, WHO, C40). Partners contribute to the development of research questions and dissemination and implementation of findings.