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Joint research activities and roadmaps guide radiation protection research in Europe

The radiation protection scientific community needs to be better integrated across Europe. Doing so will improve coordination of research efforts and provide more consolidated and robust policy recommendations for decision makers in this area.

Energy

The EU-funded CONCERT project set out to contribute to the sustainable integration of European and national research programmes in radiation protection. To achieve this, it attracted and pooled national research efforts in radiation protection with Euratom research programmes in the field. “This was done to make better use of public research and development resources and to tackle common European challenges in radiation protection more effectively through joint research efforts in key areas,” explains project coordinator Thomas Jung.

Creating synergies for an integrated research area

The CONCERT team initiated and supported the development of strategic research agendas (SRAs), recommendations for research priorities and the creation of research roadmaps in all major radiation protection research sectors via the activities of Euratom research platforms, namely the European Radioecology Alliance, the European Radiation Dosimetry Group, the European Alliance for Medical Radiation Protection Research (EURAMED), the Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative, Preparedness for Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Response and Recovery, and Social Sciences and Humanities in Ionising Radiation Research (SHARE). These developments were also discussed with and disseminated to European and international organisations involved in radiation protection. EU countries contributed in developing a joint European SRA for radiation protection research. This defines priority areas and strategic objectives for cooperation and provides a vision and role for a European radiation protection research programme to 2030 and beyond. The joint SRA serves as a starting point for shared discussion across all social sciences and humanities (SSH) disciplines. It fully integrates education and training to build up and maintain competences needed for a successful, harmonious and sustainable radiation protection regime in Europe today and in the future. In addition, CONCERT brought together national and European actors to develop a European joint research roadmap in radiation protection. It will lead the way to a sustainable research landscape in Europe. To meet the need for a reinforced multidisciplinary approach to research and innovation, project partners integrated research activities in the field of medical applications, ionising radiation and SSH related to radiation protection. As such, they actively supported the establishment of the new research platforms EURAMED and SHARE.

Enhancing current knowledge and scientific evidence base

CONCERT organised two open transnational research and development calls to strengthen scientific research in strategic radiation protection priority areas as defined by the European radiation research platforms. In total, 9 research projects were selected for funding that involved 94 partners. Five calls for activities in education and training resulted in the funding of fifty seven courses. The project is considered the first of its kind in radiation protection research. “CONCERT stimulated multidisciplinary work in research and translational work towards societal needs in radiation protection for the general public, workers, patients and the environment,” concluded Jung. “The promotion of joint national and European research and other co-funded integration activities will ensure that human health risks and possible impacts on the environment are better understood and quantified, and that radiation protection strategies are optimised.”

Keywords

CONCERT, radiation protection, roadmaps, research programme, SRA, research platform, Euratom, research and development, SSH

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