Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Understanding Planetary Health Data (fusion on-site) (EFIE11189)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryOn this course you will explore narratives related to Planetary Health using data case studies, critically evaluating the evidence available to inform decisions on some of humanity's most pressing challenges. Specifically, you will consider the evidence-base underlying key concepts of Planetary Health, including: food systems, climate change, biodiversity, soil erosion and food and nutrition security.
Course description Humanity has breached several planetary boundaries - the ones we will focus on in this course include climate change, biodiversity, soil erosion and food and nutrition security.

Students will critically evaluate the evidence available to inform decisions on some of humanity's most pressing challenges. They will have the opportunity to participate in paper discussions, debates, data skills activities and research exercises using real-world examples.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - On-Site Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities.

Students should be aware that:
- Classrooms used in this course will have additional technology in place: students might not be able to sit in areas away from microphones or outside the field of view of all cameras.
- Unless the lecturer or tutor indicates otherwise you should assume the session is being recorded.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 5, Online Activities 4, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 83 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative Assessment:

The course will be assessed by means of the following assessment components:

1) Understanding of Key Planetary Health Challenges and Narratives (100%)

The aim of this exercise is to demonstrate an understanding of key planetary health challenges and narratives, to work independently to critically assess scientific evidence and propose methods and sources for new research.

Submissions may take the form of a research proposal, or they may be in essay form, with a maximum of 1500 words.
Feedback Continuous and timely feedback will be provided by staff and peers throughout this course, including the use of online discussion spaces alongside the dialogue that takes place during the intensive 2-day workshop.

The thinking process preceding the submission of the summative assessment will be supported by a brief individual presentation to the programme staff, other students and two external guests representing the student body who will act as 'critical friends' and will provide formative feedback on the evolving plan (due in week 6). Summative feedback will also be given following the written assessment submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the key conceptual aspects of planetary health thinking.
  2. Evaluate and assess data-sets relevant to planetary health.
  3. Develop and present narratives on planetary health issues using data.
  4. Critically assess scientific evidence and propose further research.
Reading List
Full list for traditional format available here:

Essential Reading:

Whitmee et al. (2015). Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health. The Lancet Commissions, 386.

Willett et al. (2019). The Lancet Commissions Food in the Anthropocene : the EAT - Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The Lancet Commissions, 393.

Raworth. (2017). A Doughnut for the Anthropocene: humanity's compass in the 21st century
Planet-proofing the global food system. The Lancet Commissions, 1. 10.1016/S2542-5196(17)30028-1

Recommended Reading:

Salk. (2019). Planetary Health: A New Reality. Challenges, 10. 10.3390/challe10010007

Garcia et al. (2019). EATLancet vs yes2meat: the digital backlash to the planetary health diet. In The Lancet.

Van Zanten et al. (2018). Defining a land boundary for sustainable livestock consumption. In Global Change Biology.

Röös et al. (2017). Greedy or needy? Land use and climate impacts of food in 2050 under different livestock futures. Global Environmental Change.

Further Reading:

Tilman & Clark. (2014). Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health. Nature.

Borrelli et al. (2020). Land use and climate change impacts on global soil erosion by water (2015-2070). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Graham, N. A. J., Robinson, J. P. W., Smith, S. E., Govinden, R., Gendron, G., & Wilson, S. K. (2020). Changing role of coral reef marine reserves in a warming climate. Nature Communications.

Searchinger, T., Waite, R., Beringer, T., Forslund, A., Guyomard, H., Le Mouël, C., Manceron, S., & Marajo-Petitzon, E. (2018). Creating a Sustainable Food Future - A Menu of Solutions to Feed Nearly 10 Billion People by 2050. In World Resources Institute.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop a critical understanding of concepts through readings, discussions and the production of research material (SCQF characteristic 1).

Students will work with programming languages to generate reproducible data analysis. These are critical ICT skills for data science (SCQF characteristic 4).

In using specialised data skills on novel data products, students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and further develop their skills and understanding (SCQF characteristic 2, as well as 1, 3 and 4).

The formative assessment will allow students to develop skills in communicating with peers and professionals (SCQF characteristic 4).

In the summative assessment, students will identify new areas of focus (SCQF characteristic 3) and communicate via written report (SCQF characteristic 4).

Students will exercise autonomy throughout the course, self-directing pre- and post-intensive activities and taking leadership roles in the intensive session (SCQF characteristic 5).
KeywordsPlanetary Health,Data Analysis,Data Interpretation,Environmental and Public Health,Food Security
Course organiserDr Rowan Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)51 4340
Course secretaryMiss Yasmine Lewis
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information