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Call: Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health

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Programme
Acronym HORIZON-HLTH-ENVHLTH
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 1 - Destination 2: Living and working in a health-promoting environment"

Calls for proposals under this destination are directed towards the Key Strategic Orientation KSO-D ‘Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society’ of Horizon Europe’s Strategic Plan 2021-2024. Research and innovation supported under this destination should contribute to the impact area ‘A resilient EU prepared for emerging threats’ and in particular to the following expected impact, set out in the Strategic Plan for the health cluster: ‘living and working environments are health-promoting and sustainable thanks to better understanding of environmental, occupational, social and economic determinants of health’. In addition, research and innovation supported under this destination could also contribute to the following impact areas: ‘Good health and high quality accessible health care’, ‘Climate change mitigation and adaptation’, and Clean and healthy air, water and soil’.

The environment we live and work in is a major determinant of our health and well-being. It has direct or indirect beneficial or adverse impact on our health and well-being. Environmental factors are estimated to account for almost 20% of all deaths in Europe. Opinion surveys have shown that European citizens are concerned about the impact of pollution on their health. The impacting factors on both physical and mental health and well-being are not all identified nor their effects comprehensively understood and accounted for to support evidence-based policy- and decision-making. Furthermore, agreed methodologies to estimate health-related costs of exposure to environmental stressors are lacking.

Therefore, Destination 2 aims at filling knowledge gaps in the understanding of the impacts on our health and well-being of those environmental, occupational and socio-economic risk factors that have the most significant or widespread societal impacts. In this work programme, Destination 2 focuses on indoor and outdoor air pollution, chemicals, non-ionizing radiation (electromagnetic fields), urbanisation, climate and other environmental changes, socio-economic inequalities, and changing working environments. Furthermore, under this work programme a topic is dedicated to the creation of a European partnership for the assessment of risks from chemicals, which should establish the EU as an internationally recognised driver of innovative chemical risk assessment for an optimal protection of human health and the environment. The results will support the EU’s environment and health policies and overarching policy frameworks such as the European Green Deal, the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability, the 8th Environment Action Programme, the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work as well as the WHO European Environment and Health Process (EHP).

Strong collaborations across sectors and with other Horizon Europe clusters dealing with issues such as agriculture, food, environment, climate, mobility, security, urban planning, social inclusion and gender will be needed to ensure that maximal societal benefits are reached. Thus, in view of increasing the impact of EU investments under Horizon Europe, the European Commission welcomes and supports cooperation between EU-funded projects to enable cross-fertilisation and other synergies. This could range from networking to joint activities such as the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. Opportunities for potential synergies exist between projects funded under the same topic but also between other projects funded under another topic, cluster or pillar of Horizon Europe (but also with ongoing projects funded under Horizon 2020). In particular, this could involve projects related to European health research infrastructures (under pillar I of Horizon Europe), the EIC strategic challenges on health and EIT-KIC Health (under pillar III of Horizon Europe), or in areas cutting across the health and other clusters (under pillar II of Horizon Europe).

All topics are open to international collaboration to address global environment and health challenges.

Expected impacts:

Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to living and working in a health-promoting environment, and more specifically to one or several of the following impacts:

  • Policy-makers and regulators are aware and well informed about environmental, socio-economic and occupational risk factors as well as health-promoting factors across society;
  • Environmental, occupational, social, economic, fiscal and health policies and practices at the EU, national and regional level are sustainable and based on solid scientific evidence. These include overarching policy frameworks such as the European Green Deal, the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability, the 8th Environment Action Programme, the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work and the European Environment and Health Process led by the World Health Organization;
  • The upstream determinants of disease - related to choices in energy generation, agricultural practices, industrial production, land use planning, built environment and construction - are known, understood and reduced;
  • The health threats and burden resulting from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination is reduced, so that the related number of deaths and illnesses is substantially reduced by 2030;
  • Living and working environments in European cities and regions are healthier, more inclusive, safer, resilient and sustainable;
  • The adaptive capacity and resilience of populations and health systems in the EU to climate and environmental change-related health risks is strengthened;
  • Citizens’ health and well-being is protected and promoted, and premature deaths, diseases and inequalities related to environmental pollution and degradation are prevented;
  • Citizens understand better complex environment and health issues, and effective measures to address them and support related policies and regulations.
Link Link to Programme
Call
Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health
Description of call
"Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health"

Expected Outcome

This topic aims at supporting activities that are enabling or contributing to one or several expected impacts of destination 2 ‘Living and working in a health-promoting environment’. To that end, proposals under this topic should aim for delivering results that are directed, tailored towards and contributing to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Public authorities and regulators are supported with scientific evidence to implement the Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields (0 Hz to 300 GHz) as well as Directive 2013/35/EU on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields), in particular the implementation of article 1.4 of the Directive, as well as the most recent ICNIRP guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields;
  • Public authorities improve their risk assessment, management and communication through access to FAIR data and robust evidence on the exposure to EMF, in particular for the new generation radio-communication networks (e.g. 5G networks), and on the causal links between level and duration of exposures and health effects;
  • Public authorities and the scientific community take advantage of novel and robust methodologies, including models, for the assessment of health impact of exposures;
  • Stakeholders consistently use quality criteria and standards (CEN/ISO) for the analytical methodologies in the assessment of exposure to EMF, including 5G, and their impact on human health and on the environment;
  • Public authorities, employers and citizens rely on practical guidelines for exposure prevention and reduction;
  • Citizens are effectively engaged and informed about the health impact of EMF exposures and risk-preventing behaviours.

Scope:

Digital technologies and electronic communication services are a critical enabler for attaining the sustainability goals of the European Green Deal in many different sectors. The use of the new generation radio-communication networks, e.g. 5G (the fifth generation of mobile phone technology), promise higher data transfer rates and increased network capacity compared with previous generations. While digitalisation presents new opportunities, e.g. distance monitoring of air and water pollution and health outcomes, it also presents potential health risks. Europe needs a digital sector that puts sustainability at its heart: when deploying new technologies, the potential risks related to human health should also be assessed, in addition to the significant benefits.

There has been an exponential increase in the use of wireless personal communication devices (mobile phones, WiFi or Bluetooth-enabled devices etc.) by almost all citizens in private and professional settings and in the supporting infrastructures. The number of other applications using EMF has also increased such as security scanners, smart meters and medical equipment. This has resulted in an increase in man-made electromagnetic radiation in our surroundings.

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) issues guidelines for limiting exposure to electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields. EU member states are subject to Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC and the Directive 2013/35/EU, which follow basic rules on EMF exposure evaluation provided by ICNIRP guidelines. Nevertheless, there is some concern over the possible impact on health and safety from potentially higher exposure to EMF, e.g. arising from the deployment of 5G technology. Increased exposure may result from, for instance, the additional use of higher frequencies, and from the potential aggregation of different signals, especially in cities.

Research actions under this topic should provide forward-looking information on potential hazards and risks of existing and emerging EMF exposures through innovative monitoring techniques, experimental evidence and modelling and should include all of the following activities:

  • Monitoring of exposures of the general population and specific groups at risk such as children and workers using innovative technologies;
  • Establishment of potentially new exposure patterns and comparison with existing patterns, e.g. those generated by the use of previous generations of mobile phone technologies. It should be documented how exposures to EMF changes over time due to the introduction of new technologies, including 5G, supporting infrastructure, radiofrequency bands, modulation techniques and applications;
  • Investigating evidence of local and systemic biological effects and health impacts across the lifecycle using in vitro and in vivo approaches, respecting the 3Rs principle, and taking into account combined exposures and changing patterns of device use;
  • Delivering FAIR data on the causal links between level and duration of exposures and potential health (biological) effects, including potential mechanisms, in living and working environments, considering also vulnerable groups, particularly children;
  • Proposing new quality criteria and standards (CEN/ISO) for the analytical methodologies used for the assessment of exposure to EMF and their impact on human health and on the environment;
  • Undertaking case studies on solutions for exposure reduction based on acquired evidence and deliver practical guidelines for exposure prevention along the stakeholder chain;
  • Proposing and testing efficient communication methods and tools for engaging citizens in preventive actions and addressing their concerns.

Aspects such as gender, age, regional variations, socio-economics and culture should be considered, where appropriate.

All projects funded under this topic are strongly encouraged to participate in networking and joint activities, as appropriate. These networking and joint activities could, for example, involve the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. This could also involve networking and joint activities with projects funded under other clusters and pillars of Horizon Europe, or other EU programmes, as appropriate. Therefore, proposals are expected to include a budget for the attendance to regular joint meetings and may consider to cover the costs of any other potential joint activities without the prerequisite to detail concrete joint activities at this stage. The details of these joint activities will be defined during the grant agreement preparation phase. In this regard, the Commission may take on the role of facilitator for networking and exchanges, including with relevant stakeholders, if appropriate.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Health, Social Affairs, Sports, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Community Integration, European Citizenship, Shared Services, Administration & Governance, Digitisation, ICT, Telecommunication, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Consumer Protection
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
United States of America
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
United States of America
Eligible applicants Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, National Government, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit of Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 8.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 30.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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