National Hub Co-Coordinators

The National Hubs are key players in PARC

The National Hubs in 29 countries were formed to allow two-way communication between national players and PARC scientists.  

They are key players for the Partnership for Assessment of Chemical Risks (PARC) to reach its goals, says the National Hub Co-coordinators, Ľubica Murínová and Ovnair Sepai, in this interview. 

The National Hubs are networks of organizations at the country level, involving PARC partners, the relevant national ministries, public and research institutions and other stakeholders (e.g., industries, NGOs, trade unions) active in the field of human biomonitoring, environmental monitoring, toxicology and chemical risk assessment outside the umbrella of PARC. Each National Hub is led by a National Hub Contact Point, while the whole network is coordinated by Ľubica Murínová and Ovnair Sepai. 

National Hubs are important supporters 

What is the role of the National Hubs in PARC?  

"The NHs are key players in the PARC. They have been formed to allow two-way communication between national players and PARC scientists. For example, the hubs are integral in the prioritisation of chemicals of concern, since each hub feeds into the request for priorities. The hubs also respond to requests for information such as their training needs, this allows the training leads to tailor programmes to suit needs. We may say that the NHs are critical for harmonisation of national and PARC priorities and this harmonisation and alignment of priorities support the implementation of PARC objectives at both the national and European levels," states Ľubica Murínová and Ovnair Sepai. 

Allow the national voice to be heard 

NHs were also established within the framework of the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative, the HBM4EU project (2017-2023). What are the main messages learnt in the HBM4EU project regarding the National Hubs?  

"Many of the National Hubs established in HBM4EU were used as a starting point for the PARC hubs. They have however had to expand to include the wider remit of PARC such as environmental exposure, risk assessment, and Safe and Sustainable by design (SSbD). The main messages learned would be good communication within the National Hubs to allow the national voice to be heard in the PARC structures. In HBM4EU we learn that it is really important for the hubs to be integrated into the project – this is something we still need to work on in PARC. But there have been many positive steps forward."   

National Hubs need to see their input valued 

What are the main challenges that the National Hub Contact Points are facing, and what may be done by whom to overcome the challenges? 

"Understanding their role and importance is important. There needs to be effort from PARC to ensure the National Hub Contact Points and their National Hubs see that their input is valued and how it influences the work of PARC. Another challenge for the contact points is their ability to reach consensus at the national level. PARC includes partners with a wide range of expertise and different focus, so finding national consensus may be hard sometimes. We, the National Hub Co-Coordinators, want to facilitate the exchange of experience among National Hub Contact Points and we will continue to improve communication and links to PARC Coordination Team, Work Package Co-Leaders as well as Task Leaders. Regular meetings and discussion will facilitate these objectives."