The PIANOFORTE partnership, launched on June 1st, 2022, will contribute to improving the protection of the public, workers, patients and the environment from environmental, occupational and medical exposure to ionizing radiation. It brings together 58 partners representing 22 European Union countries as well as the United Kingdom and Norway, and is coordinated by the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN). It is co-financed by the European Union's EURATOM program and the Member States of the participating countries.
The PIANOFORTE Partnership will contribute to priority European policies such as the fight against cancer (European Cancer Action Plan), the protection of health from environmental risks (Green Pact for Growth) and finally the improvement of anticipation and resilience in disaster situations (implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction).
To this end, this European partnership promotes multidisciplinary research activities and innovations in a collaborative approach bringing together scientists, authorities and all stakeholders including civil society. Research projects, focused on clearly identified priorities, will be selected through calls for proposals.
Thus, between 2023 and 2025, three calls for proposals will be organized, open to the entire European research community for radiation protection. They will focus on the following four themes:
- Improving patient radiation protection in relation to the use of ionizing radiation in the medical field
- A better comprehension of variability of individual response to exposure to ionizing radiation
- The study of mechanisms involved in chronic exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation
- The improvement of anticipation capacities and resilience in nuclear or radiological crisis situations and post-accident management.
Particular attention will be paid to the involvement of all stakeholders (authorities, civil society, radiation protection practitioners, experts, etc.) in the priority setting of the scientific topics that will be the subject of calls for proposals and with respect to the question of translating this research into actual impact for strengthened radiation protection. The objective is to meet and integrate the expectations of the wide set of radiation protection stakeholders as best as possible. This partnership also specifically aims to build bridges with research activities carried out at European level in the "non-Euratom" fields, in particular in the health sector.
Beyond these research activities, PIANOFORTE will contribute to maintaining a sustainable capacity of expertise in radiation protection in Europe, which is internationally recognized, in particular by promoting the availability, use and sharing of existing state-of-the-art research infrastructures at the European level as well as by implementing education and training activities.
The partnership will build on previous work, and in particular on the results of the European joint program CONCERT conducted under the H2020 framework program which ended in 2020. It will also benefit from the achievements of other European projects just completed or in progress such as MEDIRAD, HARMONIC, RadoNorm or SINFONIA.
The PIANOFORTE partnership is organized around 7 work packages (WPs).
WP 1 :Coordination and management
The work package, led by IRSN, will ensure the coordination and the administrative and financial management of the partnership. It will ensure relations with the European Commission (EC), facilitate the exchange of information within the consortium and meet contractual and reporting requirements.
WP 2 : Prioritization of scientific themes for Open Calls
This work package, led by the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK CEN - Belgium) will define the research priorities that will be the basis for the calls for proposals. These priorities will have to be aligned with the priorities of the participating Member States and the stakeholders in radiation protection, including the public. A specific task of this WP will be to ensure the good communication of research results between the consortia in order to maximize the impact of the projects. Another task of this WP will be to update the joint roadmap for radiation protection research developed within the EJP-CONCERT, considering both future research needs and new scientific knowledge acquired within the partnership.
WP 3 : Stakeholder involvement
This work package, led by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS - Germany), will identify the priority needs of the stakeholders in order to take them into account in the establishment of the themes of the WP2 calls for projects. On the other hand, the WP will establish links with current or planned international initiatives in the field of radiation protection research. It will also aim to see to what extent synergies with other projects carried out in the framework of Horizon Europe (for example in the field of health) can be established.
WP 4 : Education and training
The work package, led by Stockholms Universitet (SU - Sweden), will maintain and develop the skills of young researchers, students and professionals in radiation protection by organizing courses on topics related to radiation protection research. Moreover, this WP will support the training of students and professionals in radiation protection by setting up scholarships and exchanges between the partners. All these actions aim to promote the emergence of a network of young researchers and professionals in radiation protection.
WP 5 : Infrastructure and data management
This work package, led by the Department of Health (DH), will establish a committee dedicated to research infrastructures. Its objective is to promote joint actions that favor access to these infrastructures, without duplicating activities between partners. It also aims to harmonize standards, practices, and quality protocols in all areas relevant to the implementation of the research roadmap. Finally, this WP will develop a plan and a vision called "FAIR" (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) for data management.
WP 6 : Communication, Dissemination, Impact creation
This work package, led by the National Radiation Protection Institute (SURO - Czech Republic), will be dedicated to the communication, within and outside the partnership, of the integration actions carried out within the framework of the partnership (training, infrastructures,...) and those related to the calls for tenders (dissemination of the calls for tenders, communication of the scientific results,...). The dissemination of knowledge produced by PIANOFORTE will target decision makers, authorities and learned societies as well as international organizations interested in the improvement of radiation protection in the European Union. To do so, this WP will rely on the network set up by WP 3.
WP 7 : Organization and management of calls for proposals
This work package, led by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR - Poland), will manage the three main calls for proposals of the PIANOFORTE partnership, in accordance with the priorities defined in WP2. The process set up by this WP will be designed to guarantee transparency, while preserving the confidentiality of the information processed and preventing conflicts of interest in response to calls for proposals.