Last update on September 2014
The OPERRA project (Open Project for the European Radiation Research Area), launched in June 2013 for four years with financial support from the European Commission, aims to build up a legal and logistical coordination structure to administer future EU calls for projects in radiation protection.
Background and objectives
As part of Horizon 2020 (the EU framework programme for research and innovation), the European Commission is seeking to set up coordination structures to which some of the management of research programming (budget administration, collection of information for calls for projects, introduction of European recommendations, etc.) will be delegated. One of the aims of these "umbrella" structures will be to simplify the procedures and optimise the costs of coordinating European research.
The main purpose of the OPERRA project is to meet this requirement in all radiation protection research fields (risks associated with low doses of ionising radiation, radioecology, management of radiological and nuclear emergencies, dosimetry, medical uses of ionising radiation, etc.), particularly by implementing EU calls for research projects.
OPERRA aims to set up a tool that will be used to develop a research strategy common to all players in radiation protection, which will have greater visibility worldwide. Most notably, it should provide greater coherence between national research programmes in radiation protection and EU programmes, and it should also identify all the finance mechanisms available. It brings together the bodies involved in radiation protection research, notably the MELODI Association for low-dose risk research, the European Radioecology Alliance, the NERIS European emergency response platform and the EURADOS dosimetry network.
This EU project also aims to encourage the participation of everyone involved in radiation protection—and not just national institutes and agencies—in the definition of strategic research agendas (SRAs) and the associated road maps: universities, stakeholders, academic partners (e.g. professional societies such as the European Society of Radiology), new EU Member States and competent radiation protection authorities (particularly via HERCA) and other technological platforms (such as SNETP for nuclear safety and IDGTP for radioactive waste management) that may or may not fall within the scope of Euratom’s competences.
Organisation and future prospects
IRSN is responsible for coordinating the OPERRA project for a period of four years.
The OPERRA project should ultimately make easier the identification European research priorities in radiation protection, taking account of the needs of society, stakeholders, the decision-making bodies of radiation protection agencies and researchers. It is expected to:
- propose new procedures for calls for research projects in radiation protection, notably by organising two calls for projects in December 2013 and December 2014;
- raise the overall profile of European research into radiation protection and facilitate exchanges with countries already affected by nuclear accidents and incidents;
- advance cooperation between research institutes and the academic world, ensuring greater visibility for the new EU Member States;
- generate synergy between national research bodies;
- reinforce cooperation in research into low doses between MELODI, representing Europe, and non-EU countries such as Japan and the US;
- establish a shared vision of needs in terms of radiation protection legislation;
- ensure better coordination of radiation protection training and education activities;
- allow easier access to major research infrastructures.