National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health: results of the 2021 calls for research projects

Thirty-three research projects have been selected by ANSES under the 2021 PNR EST. They will receive a total of €6 million in funding. This research will provide new knowledge on environmental risks to human health, in the general population or at work, and to ecosystems.

In early 2021, 298 projects were submitted in response to the two calls for projects: the first for projects on a general theme, and the second on the theme of "radiofrequencies and health". After a rigorous selection process involving assessment by scientific committees, 33 projects were chosen. 

Selected as part of the National Research Programme for Environmental and Occupational Health (PNR EST) run by ANSES, these projects are funded from budgets delegated by the Ministries of the Environment, Labour and Agriculture, as well as funds from partner institutions. For the fourth year running, a specific budget from the Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition provides support for projects on the theme of endocrine disruptors. Lastly, additional funds are supporting a project on air quality related to atmospheric pollution.

Contributing knowledge to ANSES's areas of expertise

These projects will provide new knowledge in ANSES's different areas of expertise, and in particular on health risks to the general population and in the workplace, as well as risks to ecosystems and the quality of different environments, with a contribution from the human and social sciences. Various human diseases are being studied, such as cancer, respiratory and intestinal conditions, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and Parkinson's disease.

More specifically, the projects selected for 2021 relate to one or more types of environmental and occupational exposure:  

  • thirteen projects concern chemical agents, including nine projects on endocrine disruptors;
  • seven projects deal with the issue of emerging, unexplored or new sources of contamination, five of which study micro- and nanoplastics;
  • six projects focus on radiofrequencies and health;
  • five relate to occupational exposure and occupational health;
  • five deal with exposure and risks associated with airborne particles or fibres;
  • lastly, five projects focus on biological agents, including three in the context of vector control (pathogens transmitted by vectors, mainly mosquitoes and ticks), one on antimicrobial resistance, and one on mould in the home. 

In addition, nine of these projects are exploring multiple exposure to chemical and/or physical agents or "cocktail" effects, thus contributing to knowledge of the exposome.

Twenty-eight projects will be funded by ANSES (€5.1M), three will be supported by the National Alliance for Life Sciences and Health (AVIESAN) multi-agency thematic institute for cancer, as part of the French Cancer Plan (€0.60M), and two projects by the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME) (€0.26M).