Why is EIRENE the most appropriate solution
Addressing the complex problem of environmental determinants of health requires not only multidisciplinary capacities but also their coordination, harmonization, and joint exploitation. The platforms supporting this research should be sustainable in the long term since only the longitudinal environmental and population studies can provide answers to our current questions. Also, the truly trans-disciplinary capacity that is needed to succeed cannot be built in the short term. The previous European projects showed clearly how difficult and time- consuming it is just to make an inventory of available data, obtain access, check the quality, and attempt to harmonize it. Still, each project was only working with few datasets and the outcomes of this effort were often lost after the project was completed. A main goal of the on- going co-funds (e.g. HBM4EU EJP) is to overcome this obstacle, mobilize available data on the pan-European scale, and set up the standards for future work.
It is necessary to transfer newly gained knowledge, technology, SOPs, and data to a sustainable platform capable of not only maintenance, but further development of the whole concept. The best strategy is to identify the crucial capacities available in participating countries and focus on their synergistic development and transformation into the open-access RIs. This requires coordinated efforts at the national and European levels.
The FP7 exposome projects were completed and, in most cases, their capacities were not directly transferred to the H2020 exposome cluster for further development. The HBM4EU will be finalized in 2021 and the Horizon Europe PARC partnership will be based on newly built partnership and new (although partially overlapping) goals. It is very important that both, the EHEN cluster, and the PARC partnership, develop synergies with the new RI capable of translating knowledge to practical tools and services available to the research community. This has been already recognized in EHEN where specific capacities are devoted to joint development of such RI. This should be also incorporated in the PARC project which is currently being prepared.
A special attention must be paid to the availability of data since online data discovery and access have become essential to enable cross-disciplinary research addressing scientific challenges and policy needs. Making the best use of existing data requires more effective information system interoperability, which should be established between the national and European RIs. This is again a task that cannot be completed within the short-term projects. In this aspect, new EIRENE will build on capacities developed within ERA PLANET and ensure wide application of the developed standards.