Call for expressions of interest : H2020 project "Exposome" submission

1.      Framework


The European Union has released a H2020 call for proposals on the topic of The Human Exposome Project: a toolbox for assessing and addressing the impact of environment on health.

The Exposome can be defined as the measure of all the exposures (diet, lifestyle, occupational and environmental factors) of an individual in a lifetime and how those exposures relate to health. An individual’s exposure begins before birth and includes influences from environmental and occupational sources.

This topic is at a cross-road of the 3 hubs of excellence of I-SITE ULNE: Health, Planet, and Digital world. In addition, as part of its original scientific strategy, the I-SITE ULNE Foundation wishes to set up a structuring research project for the Lille metropolitan area, involving the 3 hubs.

Therefore, the subject of the EXPOSOME is an opportunity for I-SITE ULNE to obtain a structuring, excellence research project.

Consequently, I-SITE ULNE offers to support a researcher willing to conceive, submit and lead and coordinate a multi-partner project on this topic under the H2020 program.


2.      Researcher Profile 

It is expected that the applicants:

- have a successful experience in coordination of a multi-partner project, or H 2020 experience

- have an excellent track record

- work for a research laboratory of one of the members[1] of I-SITE ULNE

Existing European partnerships and ability to mobilize a network of partners would be a strong asset.


3.       Conditions

I-SITE ULNE’s will grant 100 000 € to the chosen candidate. Eligible expenses, such as the recruitment of a project engineer to support the conception and the redaction of the submission, compensation of teaching hours, or help from an external consulting company, are to be discussed regarding the status of the researcher, in agreement with the researcher’s employer.

In case of project is rejected after the second stage of the H2020 process despite a very good evaluation, I-SITE ULNE can grant the PI 300 000€ for partial realization of the project, e.g., execution of one work package.


4.      Selection process

The applicants must submit on this plateform a CV (2 pages maximum) and a 1-page cover-letter

Opening of the candidacy process: 13th of June

Deadlines for candidacies: 12th of July (11h59 AM)



Beginning of the project: September 2019

The dead-line for submitting the H2020 project is 16/04/2019.




H2020 call for proposals: « The Human Exposome Project: a toolbox for assessing and addressing the impact of environment on health »

Specific Challenge:

Despite the general acknowledgement by the scientific community that 'Genetics load the gun but environment pulls the trigger'[1] when it comes to the causation of major non-communicable diseases (NCDs)[2]there is persistent uncertainty as to the global burden of disease attributable to environmental (including life-style and climatic) factors, including healthcare costs and negative economic impact. Deciphering the human exposome[3] is a novel way of addressing the challenge to improve health and reduce the overall burden of disease. This will require improved knowledge of health risks, including combinations of several risk factors, and the mechanisms by which they affect health at different stages throughout the life course, including exposures in foetal life. Effective preventive action will need to be designed, building on knowledge of various risk factors, including exposure to pollutants in daily life, individual behaviour and the social context, taking into account gender issues.

Developing a 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 in the future. It would respond to the need for more complete and accurate individual-level exposure data in order to estimate the largely unknown environmental component of NCDs.


Applicants should take advantage of the last decade's rapid technological advances which have opened up new opportunities to collect, combine and analyse large data sets offering new possibilities to understand the contribution of environmental factors to the global health burden of common chronic diseases. Proposals should use innovative approaches to the systematic and agnostic identification of the most important environmental risk factors for the development of major NCDs across the life course (including in utero), leading to preventive interventions at the individual, group or population level and contribute to sustainable healthcare. Well-designed retrospective epidemiological studies may be included and proposals may envisage the creation of a prospective Europe-wide exposomics cohort and biobank, integrating behavioural, socio-economic factors and clinical records.

The following components should be considered: agnostic evaluation of the role of multiple and unknown exposures; assessment of individual exposure to multiple stressors; sensors that combine external exposure and health data measurements; integration of external exposome data with cross-omics responses and (epi)genetic data; systematic evaluation and simulations of the health impacts; socio-economic modelling and econometric analysis including ethical and sex/gender aspects where relevant; better data mining tools, including advanced statistical analysis of complex data and high-performance/high throughput computing and storage; a long-term host and a single shared data infrastructure, taking into account existing structures and ensuring open access to data generated.

Innovation and connections with industry are expected in the areas of sensor development (external exposome), omics technology and novel biomarker development (internal exposome), bioinformatics, and data processing and management. Proposals are expected to respond to a persistent or long-standing policy/regulatory need where the exposome approach would be useful to solve a scientific issue to underpin better regulation now or in the future (examples: indoor and outdoor air quality, waste, occupational health, noise).

In order to establish an overarching Human Exposome Project, an overall coordination mechanism between the projects funded will be required and will be added at the grant preparation stage to all selected proposals as a common work package. Grants awarded under this topic will be complementary. The respective options of Article 2, Article 31.6 and Article 41.4 of the Model Grant Agreement will be applied.

The Commission considers that a proposal requesting an EU contribution between EUR 8 to 12 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact :

  • Innovation in environmental health sciences, in particular for external and internal exposure assessments and data management.
  • Enabling researchers and policy makers to continuously include new knowledge in the policy making processes by using the toolbox to generate data and information.
  • Better prediction of disease risk by acquisition of new knowledge on the influence of external exposures on biological pathways at different life-stages and identification of early signs of health damage caused by environmental factors.

Cross-cutting Priorities :

Socio-economic science and humanities

[1]Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)


[3]The concept of the exposome refers to the totality of environmental exposures (diet, lifestyle, occupational and environmental factors) from conception onwards, including its external and internal components.


[1]Université de Lille, Centrale Lille, ENSAIT, ENSCL, IMT Lille-Douai, Sciences Po Lille, ESJ, ENSAPL, Arts et Métiers - Campus de Lille, CNRS, Inserm, Inria, CHU de Lille, Institut Pasteur de Lille, Université́ dArtois, Université́ du Littoral Côte dOpale, Université́ de Valenciennes et du Hainaut Cambrésis, Fédération Universitaire et Polytechnique de Lille, SKEMA Business School, Centre Oscar Lambret, IFSTTAR, IFREMER, ONERA.


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