Data competence center for the Bremen region. “HealthyPlanet": Satellite-based data of environmental factors and its impact on health and health behaviors and Citizen Science project “Guardians of the Hedgehogs”


Healthy Planet: Satellite-based data of environmental factors and their effects on health and health behaviors
Environmental conditions impact our health through several exposures, such as air, noise or light pollution, lack of green spaces or other climate indices. However, previous studies to evaluate such associations have suffered from various limitations, ranging from subjective self-reporting to incomplete coverage using ground monitoring and difficulties in obtaining continuous long-term exposure data. Fortunately, earth observation satellites could potentially overcome these challenges, as they have the ability to continuously collect environmental and geographical data with high temporal and spatial resolution. Therefore, the Healthy Planet project focuses on utilizing satellite-based data to understand the complex relationship between environmental conditions and human health and behavior. The project engages interdisciplinary collaboration involving health sciences, earth and environmental sciences, social sciences, aerospace, and data science methods. By capitalizing on decades of prior research and the existing rich dataset of IDEFICS/I.Family children cohort, the project aims to conduct a feasibility study to bridge the knowledge gap on association between environmental exposures and health outcomes by linking individual health data with geocoded satellite data. The ultimate goal is to provide insights into the effects of environmental factors on health and to develop methods for large-scale, cost-effective health research using satellite technology. Through data competence dissemination and interdisciplinary collaboration, the project not only addresses current societal and scientific challenges but also contributes to advancing data science methods and interdisciplinary cooperation in health research.

Contact person for HealthyPlanet project: Rajini Nagrani (

Guardians of the Hedgehogs - Working together to protect our spiky neighbors
A citizen science project in the context of planetary health and data science
Hedgehogs, one of the oldest living mammal species, play an important role in our ecosystem. Hedgehog habitats are increasingly threatened by insect mortality, increasing traffic, the sealing of surfaces, the increased use of pesticides as well as robotic mowers and string trimmers. Hedgehogs can therefore be regarded as an indicator organism for the health of our environment. However, we are insufficiently informed about their current population.
In the context of the "Guardians of the Hedgehogs" project, the concept of "One Health" is of particular relevance. "One Health" is a holistic approach that recognizes the interactions between the health of humans, animals and the environment and emphasizes that they are inextricably linked. The health of the hedgehog population is closely linked to the health of the environment, particularly factors such as insect mortality, habitat sealing and pesticide use. By collecting hedgehog health data and identifying diseases as part of this project, we can not only protect the hedgehogs themselves, but also gain valuable insights into environmental health issues. At the same time, the project emphasizes the importance of collaboration between different disciplines and the need to consider human, animal and environmental health as an inextricably linked system in order to promote sustainable planetary health. Guardians of the Hedgehogs thus actively contributes to the concept of "One Health" and illustrates how the health of animals, nature and humans are interconnected.
The aim of the "Guardians of the Hedgehogs" citizen science project is to count and protect the hedgehog population in the Bremen region. We aim to work closely with and network with existing initiatives in this field. Our project promotes not only the classic sighting of hedgehogs, but also the implementation of small experiments, such as the construction of hedgehog tunnels to record hedgehog tracks, in order to practically involve the population in data collection. The data collected will be visualized on an interactive map of Bremen and the surrounding area and made accessible via the expanded website of the local hedgehog network.
In addition to the count, data on the health status of the hedgehogs is also collected. Sick hedgehogs are cared for by rescue centers, which develop a standardized documentation form together with the hedgehog network. Comparable data is collected over a period of two years. The database will be programmed at BIPS and data entry will take place after a short online training by BIPS data stewards with volunteer participants of the Citizen Science project. The data can be analyzed by interested citizens.
The central aims of the project are to demonstrate research processes to the public and to familiarize them with the concept of "One Health". We will organize high-profile events and provide online information material to promote the right interaction with hedgehogs, for example with regard to the right food and the design of hedgehog-friendly gardens. This citizen science project thus makes an important contribution to science communication as part of DataNord's activities.

Contact person for Guardians of the Hedgehogs project: rasmus Cloes (

Funding period

Begin:   November 2023
End:   November 2026


  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research


Dr. Rajini Nagrani

Project management (national)

Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler