Mathew White, BSc MSc PhD

Mat is a health and environmental psychologist specialising in Ecological Public Health, in particular the role of urban and different types of natural environments (green and blue spaces) on mental health and health-related behaviours (e.g. physical activity, smoking). He completed his PhD in 2004 at the University of Sheffield and has since worked at the universities of Jena (Germany), Plymouth and Exeter (UK) before moving to the University of Vienna in October 2020 with his long-term collaborator Prof. Sabine Pahl (Chair of Urban and Environmental Psychology).

Mat has worked on several large-scale international projects looking at aquatic environments and human/public health including the EU H2020 funded Blue Health (19 Countries across Europe, North America, Australia) and SOPHIE (Seas Oceans and Public Health in Europe; 15 Countries Europe & Australia) projects, and the GCRF funded ‘Blue Communities’ project (Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam). His work in this area was recognised with the 2019 Delcroix Prize for Oceans and Human Health.

Currently he is Principle Investigator on the EU Horizon Europe RESONATE project (2023-2027) exploring how nature-based therapies might build individual and community resilience, and a Co-Investigator on two further Horizon Europe projects ZeroPM (looking at ‘forever chemicals’ (PFAS) and health) and GOLIAT (looking at 5G technology and health).

A key part of his current role at the University of Vienna is to bridge the research being conducted within the Urban and Environmental Psychology group and the CogSciHub.

 Mat's projects

2023 - 2027


The Horizon Europe €6.3 million funded project, 'Building individual and community RESilience thrOugh NATurE-based therapies’ (RESONATE) will provide practical guidelines and tools for Nature-based Therapy (NbT) implementation.

Outcomes are expected to have a significant impact on the future development and use of NbTs in health and social care across Europe. RESONATE will explore these issues through a review of interventions globally, nine NbT Case Studies, and three Social Innovation Actions which will develop nature-based resilience hubs.

2021 - 2026


The goal of the project Zero pollution of Persistent, Mobile substances (ZeroPM) is to protect water from contamination by persistent, mobile substances. Fifteen institutions from the university, research and technology sectors are involved. ZeroPM is funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 programme, with a research volume of around 11.6 million euros.

2022 - 2027


The GOLIAT project (5G expOsure, causaL effects, and rIsk perception through citizen engAgemenT) is an integrative and transdisciplinary project aimed at providing responses to some of the questions raised by the new wireless technologies, with a special focus in 5G. The project is funded by Europe H2020.

project extended

BlueHealth Austria

Austria was not one of the original 18 countries in the EU BlueHealth project so Mat extended that project to collect data from a representative sample of over 2,500 people in Austria in October 2020. Results explore how the Austrian population interact with green and blue spaces for their health and well-being and Mat is keen to speak to any Austrian-based researchers about using this data. 

 Mat's recently completed projects

2014 - 2019

Drought Risk and You (DRY)


 Mat's projects in u:cris

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Zero pollution of Persistent, Mobile substances

Pahl, S. & White, M.


Project: Research funding

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 Mat's recent publications

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Janzik R, Koch S, Zamariola G, Vrbos D, White MP, Pahl S et al. Exploring public risk perceptions of microplastics: Findings from a cross-national qualitative interview study among German and Italian citizens. Risk Analysis. 2024 Mar;44(3):521-535. Epub 2023 Jun 22. doi: 10.1111/risa.14184, 10.1111/risa.14184

Fian L, White M, Arnberger A, Thaler T, Heske A, Pahl S. Nature visits, but not residential greenness, are associated with reduced income-related inequalities in subjective well-being. Health and Place. 2024 Jan;85:103175. doi:, 10.1016/j.healthplace.2024.103175

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 Mat' s recent activities

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Natural environments relieve pain: How exposure to nature stimuli impacts the neural processing of pain

Maximilian Steininger , Mathew White , Lei Zhang , Alexander J. Smalley , Simone Kühn , Claus Lamm
International Conference on Environmental Psychology
Conference, Talk or oral contribution
22.6.2023 - 22.6.2023

Naturnahe Grünflächen, spontane Naturentwicklung und Stadtwildnis in Wien

Mathew White
23.9.2021 - 23.9.2021

The importance of urban nature for population healthand Human Health

Mathew White
4. ERN-Flash Talks
Other, Talk or oral contribution
23.9.2021 - 23.9.2021

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