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Update National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health: calls for research projects issued for 2021

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News of 22/10/2020

Update of 4 December 2020: Following the Ministry of the Environment's announcement of additional funding for projects on endocrine disruptors, the text of the general call for projects has been amended. To enable scientific teams to respond, the deadline for project submission has been postponed to 7 January 2021. The deadline for the specific "Radiofrequencies and health" call for projects remains 14 January 2020. 

On 22 October 2020, ANSES issued its call for research projects under the National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health (PNR EST). Two calls will be funded in 2021: a general one on the themes of environmental and occupational health; and a second call dedicated to the theme "Radiofrequencies and health".

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

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 the emergence of new risks associated with changes to our environment, different consumption or work patterns, the arrival of new infectious diseases or the development of new technologies.

 

The first call for projects, of a general nature, focuses on the following fields related to the themes of 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 ;
  • Biological agents (including the links between ecosystem degradation, damage to biodiversity and increased frequency of epidemics);
  • Human and social science approaches to health and environmental risks;
  • Emerging contaminants;
  • Air quality;
  • Waste;
  • Climate change; 
  • Vectors and vector control.

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 cellular level;
  • Research on the physiological responses to or health effects of radiofrequencies;
  • Electromagnetic hypersensitivity;
  • Characterisation of exposure.

In the current context of 5G deployment, research on the frequency bands available in France will be given priority.

These projects are financed by ANSES from budgets delegated by the Ministries of the Environment, Agriculture and Labour, along with several other co-funding partners: the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME), the multi-agency thematic institute for cancer (ITMO Cancer) from the AVIESAN alliance as part of the national Cancer Plan, as well as the Ecophyto Plan. A number of projects on the "vector control" theme may also be funded as part of support provided by the Ministry of Agriculture's Directorate General for Food.

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 target research questions posed by the ministries and State agencies affected by these topics.

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

Two Scientific Conferences have been planned: 17 December on vector control and then 20 May 2021 on micro- and nanoparticles, in partnership with the ANR.