Mirko Winkler, PhD, DTM&H

Project Leader

Organisational Entity
Health Impact Assessment

Experience summary

Trained in Environmental Sciences (MSc ETH), Epidemiology (PhD) and Clinical Tropical Medicine (DTM&H), Dr Mirko Winkler is the Head of the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Research Group at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH). He considers himself an Environmental Epidemiologist and is thus concerned with the study of environmental exposures and societal factors that contribute to adverse health conditions. Dr Winkler’s current research activities have two foci. One is on HIA of large infrastructure development projects (e.g. natural resource extraction and renewable energies), global climate change and urbanization in low- and middle-income countries. The other is on chemical and microbial exposure assessment in the context of small-scale agriculture, sanitation safety planning and urbanisation.

Dr Winkler is specialised in epidemiological and environmental data collection in the frame of community health surveys. Applied methods range from participatory data collection to clinical studies and environmental sampling. He has a particular interest in multi-method study designs that integrate participatory, epidemiological and inter-disciplinary approaches. Over the past decade, Dr Winkler has been involved in a wide variety of studies in numerous low- and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and South America. He is an established international expert in the HIA field, having worked on 30 HIA in the renewable-energy and extractive industry sectors. He has been project manager for HIA and associated epidemiological data collections for a range of private and public entities.

Dr Winkler is a lecturer in HIA at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and guest lecturer at different universities in Switzerland. At the international level, Dr Winkler is involved in HIA capacity building in Brazil, numerous African countries and Vietnam. Moreover, he is serving as an international trainer on ‘sanitation safety planning’ on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO). Besides his teaching and training activities mainly centred on HIA, Dr Winkler is leading and coordinating the course “International Cooperation and Global Health" (Certificate of Advanced (CAS) course accredited by University of Basel) at Swiss TPH. Finally, supervision of students at MSc, PhD and post-doctoral level is another important activity Dr Winkler is pursuing.


Main research interests

  • Health impact assessment of large infrastructure development projects in low- and middle-income countries, particularly extractive industries, renewable energy projects and water resources developments
  • Impact assessment and evaluation of interventions that aim at building resilience and adaptation to global climate change and urbanisation
  • Exposure pathways and health effects of pesticide use in small-scale farmers in tropical contexts
  • Safe recovery and reuse of solid and liquid waste for promoting recycling of nutrients, energy and wastewater in the context of urbanisation in low- and middle-income countries


Career history

  • 2018-current: Head Health Impact Assessment Research Group; Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH), Swiss TPH/University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2015-current: Scientific Project Leader; Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH), Swiss TPH/University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2015-current: Course Director and Coordinator of CAS International Cooperation and global health (German title: Internationale Zusammenarbeit und Globale Gesundheit (IZGG) (ehemals: Allgemeiner Tropenkurs (ATK)); Department of Education and Training (ET), Swiss TPH/University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2015-2017: Visiting Research Fellow; Escola Nacional de Saúde Púplica Sergio Arouca (ENSP)’ at the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2011-2015: Postdoctoral Fellow; Swiss TPH/University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2008-2011: PhD student; Swiss TPH/University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2007-2008: Research Fellow; Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire


Education and qualifications

  • 2012-2015: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Epidemiology; Swiss TPH/University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2011: Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H); Gorgas Memorial Institute of Tropical and Preventive Medicine, Lima, Peru/University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, USA
  • 2008-2011: PhD in Epidemiology; Swiss TPH/University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2002-2008: MSc in Environmental Sciences (Major: Biomedicine and Human- Environment Systems); ETH Zurich, Zurich Switzerland
  • 2001-2002: Cours des Mathématiques Spéciales (CMS); Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 1996-2000: Professional Degree: Civil Engineering Draftsman and Computer Added Design (CAD) Technologist; WGG Schnetzer Puskas Ingenieure SIA/ASIC, Basel, Switzerland
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