National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health

Pesticides, noise pollution, endocrine disruptors, 5G deployment, climate change... these are just some of the aspects of our environment that raise questions about their effects on our health. If we are to assess their real consequences, we need knowledge. This is the aim of the PNR EST.

The PNR EST in brief

Year of creation: 2006
Number of calls for projects per year: two (one on a general theme, the other on radiofrequencies). Possibility of a third call for projects on a specific theme.
Number of projects funded: 40 in 2019
Duration of projects: 2 to 3 years
Annual budget: €5 million to €8 million
Funding: sums entrusted to ANSES by the Ministries of the Environment, Labour and Agriculture. Co-funded by the Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME), the Aviesan alliance's multi-agency thematic institute for cancer (Aviesan ITMO Cancer) and the Ecophyto plan
Promotion: more than 900 published scientific articles, two annual scientific meetings

The National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health (PNR EST), coordinated by ANSES, funds research on environmental health risks, including occupational risks and risks to ecosystems. Some health studies cover the general population while others focus on vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women, or on specific contexts such as the workplace, leisure activities, or daily life. 

What are the objectives?         

  • To produce scientific knowledge on health risks associated with the environment and work, which is needed to enable ANSES to conduct its expert appraisals: either because the studies produce data that will be used for future expert appraisals, or because they fill gaps in knowledge identified in previous reports.
  • To develop new methods and tools for health risk analysis.
  • To organise research and scientific teams to tackle issues related to the environmental-occupational health theme.

The themes

Each year, two calls for projects are issued simultaneously:

A general call for projects on environmental and occupational health

This aims to fund research on priority issues, related to changes in society arising from public policies (the French environmental health, occupational health, cancer and Ecophyto plans) or raised by the national agencies concerned by the topic.The themes of these calls for projects include the effects of light pollution, nanomaterials, endocrine disruptors or climate change; factors promoting cancer; mosquito-borne diseases and worker exposure to pathogens.

A specific call for projects on "radiofrequencies and health"

This aims to fill gaps in scientific knowledge on the health risks of wireless communication technologies – whether current or under development – using radiofrequencies, such as mobile phones and connected objects. Four themes have been defined: research on the mechanisms of action of radiofrequencies at cellular level, their possible physiological or health effects, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and the characterisation of uses and exposures to radiofrequencies in real-life situations.

    Respond to the calls for projects

    The programme is open to public or private research organisations, whether French or foreign. Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. There is a two-stage selection process: first on the basis of a letter of intent, then a complete application dossier.