National Research Programme on Environmental and Occupational Health: calls for research projects issued for 2020

Today, ANSES is issuing its annual calls for research projects as part of the National Research Programme on Environmental and Occupational Health. The 2020 edition of this programme will include two calls for projects with total funding of around 7 million euros: a general one on the themes of environmental and occupational health, which includes a budget of 2 million euros devoted to the topic of endocrine disruptors, and a second specific one on the theme of radiofrequencies and health.

The National Research Programme on Environmental and Occupational Health (PNR EST), run by ANSES, supports research to develop scientific knowledge that is essential for risk assessment and health-related expert appraisals to assist public policy-making.

To do this, two calls for projects are issued each year that focus on all the environmental risk factors for human health, either in general or in the working environment. They also cover risks to ecosystems and the quality of different environments. The projects funded help further research and knowledge on these key questions by considering emerging risks associated with the development of new technologies, changes in consumption patterns, or changes to our environment, such as climate change for instance. 

The first call for projects, of a general nature, aims to develop research into several themes relating to environmental and occupational health:

  • physical agents (noise pollution, non-ionising radiation, light pollution);
  • nanomaterials and mineral fibres;
  • risks of cancer associated with environmental or occupational exposure;
  • chemical agents, including plant protection products;
  • endocrine disruptors;
  • human and social science approaches to health and environmental risks;
  • biological agents;
  • emerging contaminants such as microplastics;
  • waste;
  • air quality;
  • climate change; 
  • vectors and vector control, primarily in the fields of animal health and plant health.

The second call for projects is devoted to the theme "radiofrequencies and health", which is receiving special attention because of the need to enhance knowledge on this subject and broaden the number of scientists studying it. This call for projects focuses on four subjects:

  • research on mechanisms of action of radiofrequencies at the cellular level;
  • research on the physiological or health effects of radiofrequencies;
  • electromagnetic hypersensitivity;
  • characterisation of exposure.

These projects are financed by ANSES from budgets delegated by the Ministries for the Environment, Agriculture and Labour, along with several other co-funders: the French Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME), the multi-agency thematic institute for cancer (ITMO Cancer) from the AVIESAN alliance, as well as the Ecophyto Plan.

Both calls for projects are intended for the entire scientific community. The selection process is broken down into several stages, based on a letter of intent and then a complete file. It involves two committees. The first includes researchers in charge of the scientific evaluation and selection of projects. The second, made up of other funders, the ministries concerned and stakeholders, establishes the list of projects to be financed from those selected by the scientific committee.

The National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health aims to encourage scientific communities to produce data of use in the different phases of the analysis of risks to health and ecosystems, thereby bringing research and scientific expert appraisal closer together.

In particular, these calls for projects develop the research priorities for the national Environmental Health, Occupational Health, Cancer and Ecophyto Plans and, by doing so, provide support for public policy-making. They relay research questions posed by the ministries and State agencies impacted by these topics.

Every year, as part of its efforts to promote this work, ANSES organises Scientific Conferences to enable the research teams to present the results of work funded under the PNR EST. These conferences are open to stakeholders from the voluntary and professional sectors, scientists, public institutions, etc.