Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda: A roadmap for PARC

The Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) of the Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC) is a document that outlines the main objectives, challenges and expected impacts of the partnership. It also defines the details of the research priorities and activities that will be implemented by PARC throughout its duration (2022 - 2029). The development of the SRIA is based on a co-creation process involving about 200 partners from 28 countries, including national agencies, universities, research organisations, ECHA, EFSA and EEA. It started from a comprehensive analysis of the current state-of-the-art, gaps and needs in chemical risk assessment, as well as on a wide consultation with relevant stakeholders.

The SRIA serves as a roadmap for PARC to achieve its goals and contribute to EU policies on chemicals” explains Christophe Rousselle, the deputy coordinator of the project. We will update it once a year to monitor PARC’s progression. PARC will contribute to advancing the state-of-the-art in chemical risk assessment by providing new evidence-based solutions for addressing current knowledge gaps and regulatory needs. It will also foster a culture of innovation and sustainability in the chemical sector by promoting new approaches and methodologies such as the Safe and Sustainable by Design (SSbD) approach. Moreover, it will enhance the scientific capacity and societal engagement of stakeholders involved in chemical risk assessment by facilitating knowledge exchange, dissemination and uptake.

We have structured the SRIA in such a way as to achieve three main goals:

1. To build an EU-wide sustainable cross-disciplinary network aiming at identifying and agreeing on research and innovation needs and supporting research uptake into regulatory chemical risk assessment.

2. To encourage joint EU research and innovation activities responding to identified priorities in support of current regulatory risk assessment processes for chemical substances and to emerging challenges.

3. To strengthen existing capacities and build new transdisciplinary platforms in order to support chemical risk assessment.

Each goal incorporates several activities to enable us to address key challenges such as:

  • the development and improvement of methods for identifying hazard and characterising chemicals, including mixtures and endocrine disruptors. These methods aim to provide reliable and consistent information on the potential adverse effects of chemicals on human health and the environment, as well as to support risk assessment and management decisions.

  • the development of human biomonitoring through harmonization and innovation. Human biomonitoring (HBM) is a valuable tool that enables us to evaluate human exposure to environmental pollutants and their effects on human health. With the PARC project, we try to address this gap by developing a sustainable European platform for HBM research and innovation, integrating food and environmental monitoring data, and providing policy-relevant information for risk assessment and management.

  • the development of methods to assess exposure, which take into account several sources (e.g., air, water, food), routes (e.g., inhalation, ingestion, dermal absorption) and exposure scenarios (e.g., occupational, residential). This will allow us to better understand the health impacts of environmental pollutants and to design effective prevention strategies. The project will use advanced modelling techniques, monitoring data and exposure surveys to estimate the exposure levels and doses of various chemicals from different sources and routes in different scenarios.

  • the improvement of regulatory risk assessment methods through the use of existing data and data generated in PARC to support the development and validation of novel methodologies: Integrated Approaches for Testing and Assessment (IATAs) that combine multiple sources of information to conclude on the toxicity of chemicals and Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) which identify the sequence of molecular and cellular events producing a toxic effect when an organism is exposed to a chemical substance. Within PARC we will develop exposure models and scenarios to inform the risk assessment process. PARC will provide guidance and training on how authorities can use these methods and tools for regulatory purposes.

  • providing concept and toolboxes to support Safe and Sustainable by Design approaches (SSbD) for chemicals innovation. SSbD is a proactive approach that considers the environmental and human health impacts of chemicals throughout the chemicals’ life cycle, from design to disposal. The improved information transfer structures for chemical products and articles will also allow the identification of priority substances from regulatory databases which will contribute to establish the “Early Warning Systems” (EWS).

  • the enhancement of data management, sharing and interoperability across different domains and stakeholders. PARC will ensure that data and associated information are FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and addresses the challenges for data exchange in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The implementation of common framework and standards for data governance, quality and security, will help us to promote the collaboration and innovation among researchers, risk assessors, policymakers and industry.

  • building capacities for chemical risk assessment through training, education and knowledge transfer based on a culture of excellence and collaboration. PARC aims to enhance the skills and competencies of professionals involved in chemical risk assessment across Europe by offering training courses, online resources and networking opportunities.

  • the promotion of science-to-policy dialogue and stakeholder engagement to ensure relevance, legitimacy and impact of PARC outputs. PARC aims to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and policy action, by ensuring that its outputs meet the needs and priorities of decision-makers, transparency and inclusiveness terms, and influencing policies and practices priorities.

The partnership is committed to achieve the goals, objectives and activities set in SRIA.