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Call: Indoor air quality 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
Indoor air quality and health
Description of call
"Indoor air quality 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, consumer protection entities and patient associations have access to FAIR data on air pollutants, including both chemical and microbiological determinants, and their main sources for relevant and representative indoor environments and settings in Europe;
  • Society has access to user-friendly solutions to monitor indoor air quality, a knowledge base of risk factors associated to human health impacts related to the main indoor air determinants and guidelines for interventions to improve air quality;
  • Policy-makers are provided with proposals for revised indoor air quality standards for the main determinants identified to support regulatory measures and improve regulatory monitoring;
  • The Zero-Pollution Action Plan of the European Green Deal is supported by science-based evidence.

Scope:

Air quality is primarily monitored in outdoor locations, often for regulatory targets compliance purposes. However, people spend the majority of their lives in indoor environments: e.g. at home, in the workplace, in schools and inside transport vehicles. Whereas improving outdoor air quality leads to general improvements of indoor air quality as well, certain sources of air pollution not covered by ambient air quality standards can dominate in some indoor environments. In the current pandemic situation, the issue of good indoor air quality has become even more prominent, encompassing issues such as the need of good ventilation of indoor spaces.

In addition to identifying determinants for indoor air quality, it is important to assess their health impacts in the levels reached indoors to facilitate setting of purposeful indoor air quality standards. The mere presence of a determinant may not mean harmful health effects and some (biological) determinants may even have beneficial health effects.

Applicants should propose research actions that advance the understanding of the indoor air quality and related health and safety issues and should include all of the following activities:

  • Identification and characterisation of sources and routes of exposure and dispersion of chemical and biological indoor air pollution, e.g. indoor air microbiome and allergens, viral pathogens, household chemicals, biocides in building materials, particulate matter, radon as well as emerging pollutants;
  • Identification of differences and modes of interaction between indoor and outdoor air quality at relevant and representative locations;
  • Development and deployment of technologies enabling cost-effective monitoring of indoor air quality (e.g. air quality sensors) and user-friendly alert systems;
  • Development and deployment of effect-based test systems for the detection of synergistic effects of different biogenic particles and substances as well as additional chemical substances such as volatile organic compounds, including in vitro and in vivo approaches with respect to 3Rs;
  • Identification of body burdens resulting from multipollutant (real-life scenario) indoor exposures and associated health effects, with specific focus on vulnerable population groups and sensitive life stages;
  • Conducting dose-response studies to facilitate the setting of purposeful quality standards;
  • Development of cost-effective, environment-friendly and scalable technologies to improve indoor air quality to reduce disease burdens;
  • Preparation of guidelines and training materials for interventions, supporting health promotion and disease prevention in various sectors, e.g. construction and transport, and in various socio-economic settings;
  • Delivery of FAIR data and databases structured to allow user-friendly access to information about exposures, sources and risk factors.

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

Proposals should ensure that chemical monitoring data are shared in IPCHEM through involvement with the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).

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, 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.
Call opens 22.06.2021
Call closes 21.09.2021
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 40.00 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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