Photo courtesy of forhead.org.
Environment in Southern China
RBF grantmaking began focusing on Southern China in 2006, working at the intersection of environment and health to heighten awareness of the health impacts of pollution. It does so through fostering a research-based network and a portfolio of advocacy NGOs among other projects. The Forum on Health, Environment and Development (FORHEAD), jointly managed by the Social Science Research Council and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which have been key grantees in developing this research-based network. FORHEAD made important contributions toward establishing a cross-disciplinary field at the nexus of environment and health, which was largely nonexistent in China before, by developing a body of engaged professionals, applied research, and solutions-oriented practices for use by policymakers, nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders. FORHEAD’s research core activities have several elements: a small grants program, an annual summer institute, and an annual conference. FORHEAD grants support cross-disciplinary research that is directly linked to policy and practice. The small grants form the foundation of these activities, helping to build both the understanding and capacity of government, researchers, and advocates to address a wide range of problems, including mining and industrial pollution in rural areas, intensive livestock rearing and agriculture, solid waste disposal, and effectiveness of specific policies. Grant recipients are provided close support and invited to participate in the summer institute and annual conference to refine and present their work. FORHEAD then disseminates the insights that emerge in the form of books, articles, and reports, and a special issue of the prestigious China Quarterly, and its website is a valuable resource on environment and health in China.