Large EU project on risk assessment of chemicals starts
PARC is a new giant research project funded by the EU, with over 200 partners and focusing on the development of next-generation tools for risk assessment of chemicals. Researchers from Umeå University participate in the project together with academic partners and agencies from 28 countries and several EU authorities. In May, the project started up in Paris.
Text: Ingrid Söderbergh
At Umeå University, Patrik Andersson, environmental chemist and professor at the Department of Chemistry at Umeå University, is responsible for developing tools for the early detection of new potentially problematic chemicals.
A fantastic arena for long-term collaboration with top researchers in the field where there is room to share data, tools and expertise in a good way.
The French organization ANSES coordinates the PARC project, which is an abbreviation for "The European Partnership for the Assessment of Risks of Chemicals". The project is over seven years and is expected to deliver tools linked to the EU's chemical strategy and the ambition of zero emissions formulated in the EU's "Green deal". The tools focus on protecting both the environment and humans under the umbrella of "one health" and ultimately aim to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals and develop more sustainable chemicals.
At Umeå University, Patrik Andersson, environmental chemist and professor at the Department of Chemistry at Umeå University, is responsible for developing tools for the early detection of new potentially problematic chemicals through so-called early-warning systems.
Patrik Andersson's group develops systems for better use of existing data through methodologies based on artificial intelligence for model building aiming at increasing our understanding on effects of chemicals in humans and the environment. The research often includes collaboration in the field of chemistry, computer science and mathematics, and postgraduate students as well as more senior researchers are involved.
From Umeå University, Maria Wennberg, dietitian and first research assistant at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, is also involved through contributions in exposure and cohort studies to better understand how humans are exposed to harmful chemicals and, by extension, how exposure can be reduced.
“It is a big challenge to develop new risk assessment methods, but PARC will be a fantastic arena for long-term collaboration with top researchers in the field where there is room to share data, tools and expertise in a good way,” says Patrik Andersson, professor at the Department of Chemistry at Umeå University.
The project comprises a total of 400 million euros, half of which comes from the Commission.