What happened at national level in PARC?
The National Hubs (NH) are crucial building blocks of the Partnership, essential for the fulfillment and sustainability of the main PARC activities. PARC is co-funded from national resources which shows the importance of the NHs. The NHs are networks of organizations at the country level, involving PARC partners, relevant public and research institutions and other stakeholders (e.g. industries, NGOs, trade unions) active in the field of chemical risk assessment outside the umbrella of PARC as well. Stable NHs play a key role in sharing information and needs in a two-way dialogue between the project players and the national stakeholders.
The 1st year of PARC was characterized by building up foundations of the national networks, nominating National Hub Contact Points (NHCP) for each country, organizing the first NH meeting and elaboration of the Rules of Engagement that cover the roles and tasks of the NHCPs, the NHs and the National Hub Co-coordinators (NHCCs). The Rules of Engagement describe the way of communication between NHCCs, NHCPs and other PARC players. A dedicated online working space (SharePoint) for the NHCPs has been established. The activity and the engagement of NHs will be monitored each year by Ľubica and Ovnair, the NHCCs, and for that purpose, key performance indicators of the NHs are being developed in collaboration with work package 1.
Two surveys were administered to the NHs at the end of 2022, one focused on the mapping of the needs and expectations of the NHs, while the other one aimed specifically at gathering information on the training needs of the NHs.
Almost all NHs were established by January 2023 and the nominated NHCPs have already organized their first NH meetings. Even though considerable differences were apparent in the size of the NHs, this is not a crucial criterion. In total, 363 organizations were included in the NHs and their activities. Based on the actual structure of NHs, more than half of the PARC NHs represent a follow-up of NHs established in the framework of the HBM4EU project. The majority of the NHs include institutes in the field of human biomonitoring, environmental and multisource monitoring, and risk assessment. Relatively few NHs have expertise in FAIR data and that is one of the main topics requested to be covered by training activities. Further information on the identified training needs is available here.
It has been a year of learning and organizing our activities and this culminated in the first face-to-face NHCP meeting held in Riga, Latvia on April 26-27, 2023. The meeting design was based on discussions and exchange of ideas between the NHCPs and the leaders of the work packages. The emphasis was on interactive discussions, sharing experience and open debates about NHCP needs, and expectations. The following specific topics were discussed in detail: indicators of success, communication and content of webpages for the NHs, sustainability of PARC activities and results of the two surveys mentioned above. The session on structure, plans and needs of the NHs was illuminating - a short report will be published.
We are grateful for all the work already achieved in the first year of PARC. Keep a lookout for the NH pages on the PARC website. These will be developed and populated with time.
Ľubica Murínová, SZU, SK; lubica [dot] murinovaszu [dot] sk (lubica[dot]murinova[at]szu[dot]sk)
Ovnair Sepai, UKHSA, UK; ovnair [dot] sepaiukhsa [dot] gov [dot] uk (ovnair[dot]sepai[at]ukhsa[dot]gov[dot]uk)