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Integrated approach for impact assessment of safe and sustainable chemicals and materials (RIA)

 

The Commission initiative for Safe and Sustainable by Design[[See documents defining the SSbD framework on: https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-innovation/research-area/industrial-research-and-innovation/key-enabling-technologies/advanced-materials-and-chemicals_en]] sets a framework for assessing safety and sustainability of chemicals and materials, which should be considered as a reference in the proposal.

Proposals should aim to develop integrated approaches for the assessment of health and environmental impacts together with the social and economic sustainability aspects of a chemical or material, all along their life-cycle. The projects should acknowledge and account for the fact that safety and sustainability of a chemical or material are the result of a mix of intrinsic properties (dependent only on the chemical or material itself) and extrinsic properties (dependent on how the chemical or material is produced or used, and in which quantity and resulting exposures). The proposals should also aim to foster the acceptance and effective uptake of the developed approaches within different sectors. The developed methodologies should support and facilitate decision making when having to weight multiple sustainability criteria against each other. The developed methodologies should contribute to the estimation of health, environmental as well as social and economic impacts at EU and global scale.

Proposals should consider all the following activities:

  • Select chemicals/group of chemicals/(advanced)materials for which they will develop an integrated approach for health, environment, social and economic impact assessments and justify this selection in view of their societal relevance;
  • Development of methodologies and associated guidelines for integrated health, environment, social and economic impact assessments. Existing life cycle methodologies should be built on;
  • Identification of data gaps and data availability along the value chain as regards all relevant sustainability dimensions (environmental, health, social and economic factors) for the targeted substance/group of substances and in particular identification and monetization of externalities arising during the life cycle of a chemical or a material;
  • Identification and engagement of all relevant stakeholders along the value chain to take into account the existence of conflicting interests and potential impacts affecting differently each of them. Foster a shared support and agreement on developed methodologies;
  • Develop a demonstration of the integrated approach, which can contribute towards its effective acceptance and implementation by different stakeholders;
  • Delivery of FAIR[[Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable]] data and methodologies including results obtained from applying the methodologies to allow for further testing of the methodologies, enhance acceptance and their wider applications.

Proposals submitted under this topic should demonstrate synergies with the EU-funded projects from the topic CE-NMBP-42-2020 and the forthcoming topic HORIZON-CL4-2023-RESILIENCE-01-21. In addition, collaboration with the European Partnership on Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC)[[https://www.anses.fr/en/content/european-partnership-assessment-risks-chemicals-parc]] with regards to their task on delivering the SSbD toolbox is encouraged. Concerning health impact assessment, projects are encouraged to establish synergies with projects resulting from the topic HORIZON-HLTH-2022-ENVHLTH-04-01. Proposals should allocate the necessary resources for collaboration with the above-mentioned relevant projects.

Proposals should indicate to which chapters of the Strategic Research and Innovation Plan for chemicals and materials[[https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-innovation/research-area/industrial-research-and-innovation/key-enabling-technologies/advanced-materials-and-chemicals_en]] they will contribute.

Proposals should involve appropriate expertise in Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), in particular in social and economic assessments, to achieve efficient integration of techno-economic, safety and life cycle assessment.

Co-operation with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) may be envisaged in areas of mutual interest with regards to methods development and their wider uptake.

Synergies with Horizon Europe missions as relevant are encouraged.