Camille Perchoux receives prestigious ERC Starting grant

31 March 2022

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Prestigious European grant.

Dr Camille Perchoux, young researcher at LISER has received an ERC Starting grant, a prestigious funding from the European Commission.

Camille Perchoux, research associate in the Department Urban development & Mobility of the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER), is one of the 397 European researchers that received the prestigious ERC Starting grant. Her research project – FragMent – is dedicated to the societal scourge of the modern world: stress.

Urban environments and stress

Stress is nearly ubiquitous in everyday life, and imposes a tremendous burden worldwide by acting as a major risk factor of mental disorders, autoimmune, infectious and cardiovascular diseases, and some cancers.

The aim of the FragMent project is to evaluate to which extent the spatial and temporal fragmentation of exposures to environments in daily life influences physiological and psychological stress, as well as social inequalities in stress. Some evidence shows that exposures to daily environments may either act as a stress contributor or provide some stress restorative qualities. While the protective effect of greenness has been clearly established, strong uncertainties remain regarding the effects of urban environments.

FragMent starts from this premise to investigate the environmental determinants of momentary, daily and chronic stress in relation with immediate, daily and regular environmental exposures. The project uncovers the role of spatiality and temporality in exposure effects on stress. It further builds on the concept of space-time activity fragmentation, to contextualize patterns of exposure within activity patterns. Finally, it analyses how differences in space-time exposures and activity patterns across social groups may lead to social inequalities in stress. An observational cohort study will be used to evaluate momentary, daily and chronic stress in daily life, using a combination of traditional websurvey, map-based questionnaires, smartphone tracking and Geographic Ecological Momentary Assessment. A series of lab-based experiments, combining Immersive Virtual Environments with a walking simulator,
will assess the effect of urban environmental characteristics and the temporality of exposures on momentary physiological and psychological stress.

Bridging knowledge from epidemiology and time geography, FragMent will provide critical evidence to equitably reduce exposure to environmental stressors in outdoor space in everyday life.

About ERC grants

The ERC’s (European Research Council) mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence.

ERC Starting Grants are intended for young researchers with between 2 and 7 years of experience since obtaining their PhD. The objective of the Starting Grant grants is to allow young scientists to build their research team around an original theme. The research must be carried out in a public or private research institute located in an EU Member State or an associated country. The duration of
the grant is 5 years and the selection criteria are the scientific excellence of the project and of the researcher carrying it. The latter must demonstrate his scientific independence and his/her ability to assume the management of his/her project.

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