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Health impacts of endocrine-disrupting chemicals: bridging science-policy gaps by addressing persistent scientific uncertainties
|Funding Program||Horizon Europe - Cluster 1 - Destination 2: Living and working in a health-promoting environment|
|Call budget||€ 40,000,000.00|
|Estimated EU contribution per project||between € 6,000,000.00 and € 7,000,000.00|
|Link to the call||ec.europa.eu|
|Link to the submission||ec.europa.eu|
The function and regulation of the endocrine system in humans and other species is of high biological complexity. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs or endocrine disruptors) are chemical substances that alter the functioning of the endocrine system and negatively affect the health of humans and animals. They may either be of synthetic or natural origin.
EDCs are of increasing importance in chemical regulations in the European Union. According to the Comprehensive European Union Framework on Endocrine Disruptors, adopted in 2018, the EU strategic approach on endocrine disruptors for the years to come should be based on the application of the precautionary principle. This approach would aim at, inter alia, minimising overall exposure of humans and the environment to endocrine disruptors, paying particular attention to exposures during important periods of development of an organism, such as foetal development and puberty, possibly integrating a life course approach, as well as accelerating the development of a thorough research basis for effective and forward-looking decision-making. This includes research for the further management of chemicals (including multi-constituent chemicals as well as chemical mixtures), the understanding of the mechanistic effects of endocrine disruptors and their dose-response relationships (including at the molecular and cellular level through the use of new approach methodologies, such as ‘multiomics’, cheminformatics, in vitro 2D and 3D models, in vivo models and computational approaches), and the collection, sharing, harmonisation and combination of robust data sources.
Closing existing knowledge gaps in the understanding of EDC effects will support more effective and evidence-based regulations at the European level.
Bringing together, inter alia, (molecular) epidemiologists, exposure scientists, toxicologists, endocrinologists, health care practitioners and risk assessors, research actions under this topic should focus on the understanding of the impact of exposures at critical life stages as regards development of diseases later in life, focusing on the several health endpoints for which there is currently less information available. Advantage should be taken of existing biobanks and disease registries and/or cohorts, with carefully planned measurement strategies and clearly worked-out hypotheses. The nature of the dose-response relationships and whether effects are threshold-dependent should be addressed in the study designs. Similarities between endocrine systems and certain health outcomes across species should be exploited to improve understanding of functioning of the endocrine system. Finally, research should attempt at identifying predictive biomarkers (e.g. from liquid biopsies such as saliva, urine, blood) that would allow the tracing of endocrine disrupter-mediated health effects in a shorter period of time than normally would be required for epidemiological studies.
Research actions under this topic should provide forward-looking mechanistic information on potential hazards and health risks of exposures to EDCs, through innovative molecular epidemiological, multifactorial models and systems biology approaches, exploiting the use of state of the art non-animal methodologies when relevant, and should include several of the following activities:
Aspects such as gender, regional variations, socioeconomics 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). Proposals should also consider involving JRC with respect to the value it could bring in providing an effective interface between the research activities and regulatory aspects and/or to translating the research results into validated test methods and strategies fit for regulatory purpose. In that respect, the JRC will collaborate with any successful proposal and this collaboration, when relevant, should be established after the proposal’s approval.
Applicants should be acquainted with planned activities under the European partnership for the assessment of risks from chemicals PARC. PARC will be informed about successful proposals. Successful proposals will be invited to establish synergies with PARC and take advantage of the partnership as a facilitator for open data and methodology sharing with risk assessors and their scientific networks.
This topic requires the effective contribution of social sciences and humanities (SSH) disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.
In order to optimise synergies and increase the impact of the projects, all projects selected for funding from this topic will form a cluster and be required to participate in common networking and joint activities. Without the prerequisite to detail concrete joint activities, proposals should allocate a sufficient budget for the attendance to regular joint meetings and to cover the costs of any other potential common networking and joint activities.
Applicants envisaging to include clinical studies should provide details of their clinical studies in the dedicated annex using the template provided in the submission system. See definition of clinical studies in the introduction to this work programme part.
|Expected effects and impacts|
|Regions / countries for funding||EU Member States, Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)|
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
|eligible entities||EU Body, Education and training institution, International organization, Natural Person, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)|
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
Applications may be submitted by one or more legal entities, which may be established in a Member State, Associated Country or, in exceptional cases and if provided for in the specific call conditions, in another third country.
In recognition of the opening of the US National Institutes of Health’s programmes to European researchers, any legal entity established in the United States of America is eligible to receive Union funding.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) may participate as member of the consortium selected for funding.
Health, Social Services, Sports
|Relevance for EU Macro-Region||EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region|
|UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)|
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.
The award criteria are described in General Annex D. The following exceptions apply: The thresholds for each criterion will be 4 (Excellence), 4 (Impact) and 3 (Implementation). The cumulative threshold will be 12.
The rules for the legal and financial set-up of the grant agreements are described in General Annex G. The following exceptions apply: In order to optimise synergies and increase the impact of the projects, all projects selected for funding from this topic will form a cluster and be required to participate in common networking and joint activities (and in determining modalities for their implementation and the specific responsibilities of projects). Depending on the scope of proposals selected for funding, these activities may include:
|Call documents|| HE-Work Programme 2023-2024, Cluster 1, Destination 2 (383kB)
|Contact||National Contact Points for Horizon Europe |
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