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UNIversity Exchange program creating UNIque learning environments for urban HEALTH

The UNI HEALTH project is funded by EIT Health, a network of best-in-class health innovators backed by the European Union. EIT Health aims to increase business competitiveness, improve quality of life, and increase the sustainability of healthcare systems.

UNI HEALTH is a Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Training Program delivered in partnership by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and Newcastle University. It seeks to engage students, researchers, citizens and professionals around the theme of urban health, involving seminars, workshops and student and staff exchanges. UPM have led the first half of the project which has focussed on age-friendly cities. Newcastle’s programme will centre on innovating with nature for health, with a focus on green infrastructure.

The Newcastle programme will take place on the week commencing 30 September 2019 and will consist of presentations, field trips and group work on green infrastructure.  Programme participants will include Newcastle and UPM students but the course will also be open for citizens and professionals to attend.  The programme will mostly take place at The Core on Newcastle Helix, running from approximately 10:30AM until 5PM each day.  In the early evening of Friday 4 October, there will be a small exhibition of group work, with a prize awarded by ARUP for the work judged to be of the highest quality. Later in the year a larger exhibition will take place, building on some of the work completed by participants.


Newcastle University’s programme as part of UNI HEALTH will consist of a series of presentations on the theme of natural environments and urban health, from individuals working in the academic, public, private and voluntary and community sectors. Confirmed speakers include:

We will also be hearing from colleagues at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid on research and innovation in relation to green and blue infrastructure within the Madrid context.

In addition to the presentations, there will also be two fieldtrips:

The programme will take place at The Core on Newcastle Helix in Newcastle City Centre.  It will run from Monday 30 September to Friday 4 October from approximately 10:30 to 17:00 each day.  The programme is open to students at Newcastle University for whom it will form part of “Charrette Week” within the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, which involves participation in one of a number of projects involving design work.  In addition to visiting students from our partner institution, the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, the week is also open to citizens and professionals.  The programme is free to attend.

Participants will work in groups during the week on a design task.  This will be centred on the prospective redevelopment of an area within Newcastle City Centre, exploring the potential for urban greening. In the early evening of Friday 4 October there will be a small exhibition, with a prize awarded by ARUP for the group work judged to be of the highest quality.

To register to take part please click here. If you are interested in finding out more feel free to get in touch with Dominic Aitken who is the Newcastle University lead for the project:

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) is the lead partner in the UNI HEALTH project. Its programme has been led by Esther Higueras Garcia, Elisa Pozo Menéndez, Emilia Roman López and Cristina Gallego Gamazo and ran from January to April 2019 with a focus on age-friendly cities.  Students focused on the district of Usera, just south of central Madrid, exploring how the area could encourage active ageing through improved urban design and planning.  Dominic Aitken, Rose Gilroy and Graham Armitage of Newcastle University visited UPM in February alongside Barbara Douglas of Elders Council of Newcastle and Thomas Scharf who was able to join virtually.  The team engaged students and delivered sessions on social research and innovation related to ageing at Newcastle. Rose and Barbara were able to return in April to witness the progress of student’s work and engage with local public officials. In June, Dominic, Tim Townshend and a small group of postgraduate students from Newcastle will attend and participate in UPM’s festival which will celebrate students’ work and engage businesses around the theme of healthy ageing in urban environments. You can learn more about Madrid’s programme here (most of the website is in English), with all of the sessions delivered available to watch via the YouTube channel (including those by the Newcastle team).

We look forward to welcoming UPM students and academics to Newcastle’s programme in the Autumn.

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