SIGHT Award to research on pollution and health with focus on pregnant women and children

SIGHT Award 2020 of 100 000 Swedish kronor has been awarded to Ebba Malmqvist, Associate Professor at Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University, for her research on pollution and health with focus on pregnant women and children.

Ebba Malmqvist. Photo: Clea Bielecki

Air pollution is an ever-greater threat to global health. Exposure to outdoor fine particles is one of the five most serious risk factors for death worldwide, accounting for 6,67 million deaths and the loss of 213 million disability-adjusted life years globally, according to Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD 2019).

There is a profound need for research on the connection between air pollution and health, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Since 2016, Ebba Malmqvist’s research group has collected data and used modelling to study effects of air pollution in Ethiopia, and recently also in India and Pakistan – with special focus on children and women.

“New research shows connections between air pollution and preeclampsia as well as gestational diabetes. We also know that fetal growth can be impacted by air pollution. Considering that many pregnant women and children in Ethiopia are exposed to air pollution through traffic, cooking over open fire and the burning of trash, we look forward to our measurements of air pollution being followed up by epidemiological studies. In Ethiopia in particular, preeclampsia is the most common cause of death among pregnant women” comments Ebba Malmqvist.

SIGHT (Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation) is an institute under the auspice of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. About the importance of being awarded the SIGHT Award 2020, Ebba Malmqvist says:

“The prize is important to me personally, but above all I am happy to see research on environmental health getting the position in global health research it needs in times like these.”

The decision on recipient of the SIGHT Award 2020 was made by the board of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Read more about SIGHT

FACTS Prize citation

“for research of key importance to reducing the harmful effects of air pollution, with a focus on the health of children and women in low- and middle-income countries.”

About the Laureate

Ebba Malmqvist is Associate professor at Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University. Her research field concerns the impact of air pollution, with a focus on children and pregnant women. After a number of studies and many visits to Ethiopia, Ebba Malmqvist is especially interested in how to work with air pollution and health in a country already challenged in many other ways.

SIGHT Award 2020

The prize was founded with support from the Einhorn Family Foundation 2017 and will be awarded the 25th of November during the online event, Global Health Night & SIGHT Award 2020 hosted by Stockholm School of Economics/ Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets (MISUM) in Stockholm.

In connection with the prize award ceremony a seminar for students will be held with a panel discussion about how the pandemic has reinforced social inequality and what measures are needed to create a more equal, fair and sustainable world after the pandemic, “Building Back Better”.

For more information and interview requests:

Ebba Malmqvist,,
+46-(0)73-274 18 77

SIGHT’s Director:
Peter Friberg,,
+46-(0)70-676 00 13