The consortium of EIRENE met in Vienna

The first meeting of the EIRENE consortium (since 2019) took place at the beginning of May in the Czech House in Vienna. There were discussed the next essential steps for the EIRENE research infrastructure. The project EIRENE PPP is the cornerstone for the infrastructure EIRENE, and it will be launched in September this year. EIRENE PPP will build up the research infrastructure's administrative, organizational, and technical background and prepare the research infrastructure for the implementation phase to enable researchers from all over Europe and the rest of the world access to world-class facilities and services.

5 May 2022 Shachar D'vir

Representatives of 13 (out of 17) countries in the EIRENE consortium met in Vienna on May 4, 2022, to discuss the first steps in building the pan-European human exposome research infrastructure. While members of the Consortium had previously collaborated, this was the first time they had the opportunity to meet in person since 2019. The morning session covered mainly the upcoming Horizon Europe EIRENE PPP project, which will start in September 2022. In the afternoon session, representatives from each country discussed the status and progress in their countries. Specifically, they presented an overview of their respective research activities, existing research infrastructure capacities, and progress toward establishing their national hubs.

Building large, pan-European research infrastructures such as EIRENE involves several development phases before reaching full operational capacity. These phases include Design, Preparation, and Implementation. On average, building a research infrastructure takes ten years. The Call to fund the EIRENE PPP project was specifically designed by the European Commission to support the Preparation phase of European research infrastructures. In all, the Call funded 11 research infrastructure projects.

Research infrastructures are organizations that enable researchers from across Europe and the rest of the world access to world-class facilities and services, thereby promoting important scientific advancements and discoveries. They ensure, among others, that data collected within a particular domain, such as exposome in the case of EIRENE, are collected, processed, and stored in a harmonized (standardized) manner. Access to these research capacities and services is the foundation for cutting-edge scientific research needed for solving the environmental and health problems facing humans as a result of exposure to chemical substances. Key features of research infrastructures are collaboration and access to data. While several research infrastructure types exist (e.g., single-sited), EIRENE will be a so-called distributed research infrastructure, providing access to facilities and services scattered throughout Europe.

Over the course of three years, the EIRENE PPP project will prepare EIRENE for implementation, mainly through the development of governance, financial and technical structures, as well as define its scientific vision.

While the development of the EIRENE organization, such as in the current project, will be supported predominantly by EU funding, the long-term financing of EIRENE will depend on Member State level funding. Therefore, one of the key aims of the Consortium in the upcoming years will be to obtain political support and commitment at the state level.

The Consortium will meet again in October for the EIRENE PPP project kick-off meeting, which will take place as part of the International Conference for Research Infrastructures (ICRI), in Brno, Czech Republic.

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