Ce topic appartient à l'appel Environment and health (Single stage - 2023)
Identifiant du topic: HORIZON-HLTH-2023-ENVHLTH-02-04

Global coordination of exposome research

Type d'action : HORIZON Coordination and Support Actions
Nombre d'étapes : Single stage
Date d'ouverture : 12 janvier 2023
Date de clôture : 13 avril 2023 17:00
Budget : €3 000 000
Call : Environment and health (Single stage - 2023)
Call Identifier : HORIZON-HLTH-2023-ENVHLTH-02
Description :


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 tailored towards and contributing to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Environment and health research community, research-policymaking authorities, research funders and other relevant stakeholders work together at the European and international level towards establishing a medium-long-term Global Human Exposome Network;
  • Environment and health research community, authorities working at the science-policy interface and research funders provide options for functioning, financing and governance of a medium-long-term Global Human Exposome Network also considering the strengthening of the coordination of the European Human Exposome Network;
  • Relevant stakeholders profit from a strengthened coordination and collaboration globally among different fields of research and innovation with relevance to deciphering the human exposome;
  • A roadmap and a R&I agenda for international cooperation in specified areas of exposome research and innovation, including, among others, recommendations for exchange of knowledge and data, policy uptake, technological and conceptual approaches and promotion of global level coordinated initiatives on the exposome are made available to the relevant international stakeholders;
  • The coordination of research initiatives, infrastructures, facilities and resources in the area of the Exposome in Europe is supported and reinforced;
  • The interoperability and harmonisation between data and studies is increased facilitating the exchange and use of information across research disciplines and groups.


The concept of the exposome refers to the totality of environmental exposures from conception onwards, including its external (e.g. diet, lifestyle, occupational and environmental factors) and internal components (e.g. epigenomics, metabolomics). Developing a comprehensive Human Exposome Project would present a fundamental shift in looking at health, by moving research away from ‘one exposure, one disease’ understanding to a more complex picture upon which to build solid, cost-effective preventive actions and policies. At its most complete, the efforts could resemble in scope the Human Genome Project.

The European Human Exposome Network (EHEN)[1], a cluster of 9 projects funded since 2020 for five years from Horizon 2020, is currently the world’s largest network of projects studying the impact of environmental exposure on human health with an exposome angle. Together, the network of projects aims to study the combination of exposures to pollutants and other stressors, across different life stages and socio-economic conditions, via a number of exposure vehicles such as consumption patterns, lifestyle and working and living environment, and their collective effect on human health.

At the international level, some related activities are ongoing in, e.g., the US (National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences) and Japan. Currently, there is only sporadic cooperation initiatives between the ongoing research at the EU level and important research groups outside Europe. However, in order to fulfil the promise of deciphering the human exposome, a large-scale effort similar to the Human Genome Project could be envisaged, for which a preparatory coordination and support action would be highly useful to identify and discuss the research needs and specific areas of potential cooperation at the global level. Additionally, both at the European and global level better coordination is essential to foster new opportunities to collect, harmonise, combine and analyse large data sets emanating from new and evolving technologies. This offers also new possibilities to understand the pathways leading from a multitude of environmental exposures to the global health burden of common chronic diseases. Standardisation and interoperability of data is also needed to assure access to quality data sources at the European and global level.

On the policy side, the outcomes of advancing the exposome research can touch upon and contribute to a better implementation of a wide range of policies and EU priorities such as the EU Chemicals Strategy[2], Zero Pollution Action Plan[3], the European Green Deal[4] and climate policies[5], among others. The benefits of cooperation would also extend to international initiatives such as activities of the World Health Organization related to environment and health[6] and the United Nations activities on climate[7] and environment[8].

Accordingly, proposals should cover, among others, most of the following activities:

  • Proposal for a common agreed conceptual framework for the exposome;
  • Proposal for options for a global governance structure for a Global Human Exposome Network taking advantage of and connecting to the existing research infrastructures and services in the area of the Exposome at the European level;
  • Agreed technologies needed to decipher the external and internal exposome, support longitudinal studies and potential for international cooperation;
  • Proposal for data mining, analysis, opportunities for harmonisation, interoperability, and standardisation in data collection, knowledge storage and transfer, and bioinformatics needs at the European and global level;
  • Cooperation between population and patient cohorts, integrating a large number of variables and comprehensive environmental datasets, and biobanks, also covering the perinatal period;
  • Facilitation of the regulatory uses of results including for regulatory science and risk assessment.

Proposals should interact with existing research infrastructures, services and research projects in the area of the exposome (namely the European Human Exposome Network but also other related projects and actions supported through Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe) and build on and integrate the work being developed in these initiatives. The composition of the applicant consortia should ensure a broad and balanced geographical representation of Member States and Associated Countries and the proposals should involve also Widening Member States and Associated Countries. International cooperation beyond EU with interested parties is required.