European funding creates health benefits and business opportunities

More than £3m of European Regional Development Funding which helped create the European Centre for Environment and Human Health has sparked innovative research which is changing lives in Cornwall and around the world.

The investment, which created the centre in Truro, was made to provide a focus for the development of internationally relevant research on the threats, benefits and consequences of the environment and its impact on human health.  One of the research projects which has come from the centre has not only helped the lives of many patients but has also identified a potentially significant international business opportunity.

Dr Jess Tyrrell of the University of Exeter has led research into the little known Meniere’s disease.  Meniere’s is an inner ear disorder which affects one in 1,000 people.  It is very unpredictable for sufferers of the disease which can lead to vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss and a feeling of pressure deep inside the ear yet factors that exacerbate the condition were unknown, until now.

Working in collaboration with Newquay based Buzz Interactive, a company that specialises in website design and application development, the project created an application that allowed Meniere’s sufferers to record the severity of each symptom and whether individuals experienced an attack (symptom spike that incapacitates the individual).  This was a first venture for Buzz Interactive into “e-Health”.

The research is investigating a link between attacks and symptom severity in the 2,000 registered users of the application, and the weather. Results from the research are expected very soon.  This is the first time the association with weather has been tested in this way.

Cornwall resident and Meniere’s App user Gerald Pitts said, “The Meniere’s Monitor has transformed the way I manage my condition, allowing me to see patterns in my symptoms and take back control of my life. This new version of the app is really easy to use and it’s fantastic to know that the data I’m collecting is also being used to improve our understanding of the disease.”

Dr Jess Tyrrell said “This app is helping us to further understand Meniere’s disease and helping individuals to manage their highly unpredictable condition. The collaboration with Buzz Interactive was invaluable in ensuring this project was a success.”

Lindsey Axten Project Director at Buzz Interactive said, “It has been great working with Dr Tyrrell on the Meniere’s Monitor project over the last 3 years, it’s always interesting to see how our skills and expertise at Buzz Interactive can be utilised in various sectors. eHealth is a particular strength and focus of ours and continues to opens up exciting areas of business growth.”

Julian German said; “As we knew would be the case, European investments continue to work positively for the residents of Cornwall. It is great to see the evidence of how these investments have helped businesses and residents. Cornwall Council will continue with our efforts to ensure that economic development investment monies continue to come to Cornwall.

With a combination of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, the European funded Superfast broadband network and, innovative thinkers like Dr Tyrrell and the team at Buzz Interactive, Cornwall is well placed to lead internationally significant research and exploit high value business opportunities.

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Notes to editor

Project video

European Centre for Environment and Human Health

The Centre conducts world-class research into the complex links between the environment and human health. Part of the University of Exeter Medical School and supported by funding from the European Union, the centre analyses both the risks and benefits the environment poses to health, and ensures findings have relevance to the UK’s business community.

Website –

Buzz Interactive

Buzz Interactive is a well-established creative technology company based in Newquay, Cornwall. Buzz has have a seven-strong, specialist team of developers.

Buzz excel in the development of bespoke applications of all sizes and complexities, always cleverly designed with technical merit. Their client base is varied and nationally spread. They are usually selected for their original, enthusiastic but proven approach.

Website –

European Regional Development Fund

The project (development of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health) has received £3,053,620.00 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Convergence Programme 2007-2013.  The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit

Alex Ledbrooke
Engagement Officer, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly ITI Support Team (European Structural and Investment Funds)

Mobile – 07854 039960
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Twitter – @GrowthProgramme

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