ESR@Work November 2015, EuroSafe Imaging Update

ESR cooperation with MELODI

The European Society of Radiology (ESR) has recently become a member of MELODI, the Multidisciplinary European Low-Dose Initiative, an organisation promoting low-dose radiation protection research.

The cooperation with MELODI had been governed by a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2014, but the ESR’s acceptance as a MELODI member by its General Assembly on November 9 allows the ESR to become an integral, long-term partner in shaping the European radiation protection landscape. Prof. Guy Frija, member of the ESR Radiation Protection Subcommittee, was elected as a member to the MELODI board to represent the interests of the medical community.

Strategic Research Agenda for Medical Radiation Protection

The ESR and other medical associations – the European Federation of Radiographer Societies (EFRS), the European Federation of Organisations in Medical Physics (EFOMP), the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM), and the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) – have been working to develop a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for medical radiation protection, as this field has been underrepresented and fragmented to date. In addition to giving greater visibility to medical radiation protection in the research community, the aim is to also influence the EU research programme Horizon 2020 by proposing research priorities within its area of expertise.

The first version of the SRA for medical radiation protection has been reviewed and approved by all medical societies involved. Therefore, the final draft version, which will be circulated soon, will be the first time that the medical field reaches consensus for a joint approach, thereby gaining visibility in radiation protection research and opportunities for funding in future research programmes. This represents a major success for the medical community.

Medical platform

The logical next step following the finalisation of the SRA is the establishment of an independent medical platform, modelled after existing platforms such as MELODI or EURADOS (European Radiation Dosimetry Group). The SRA working group, consisting of representatives of the five medical associations, will prepare a draft concept for consideration by the boards of the associations. There may be an opportunity for EIBIR, the European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, to provide management services to a future platform. The aim of this endeavour is to have more visibility to collaborate with the nuclear sector, to keep the SRA updated, and to ensure medical radiation protection research remains on the EU’s research agenda.

Horizon 2020 Call: NFRP9 – Impacts of low-dose radiation exposure

The Horizon 2020 Call ‘NFRP9 – Impacts of low-dose radiation exposure’ comes at a very opportune moment for the intensifying cooperation between the five medical societies, and several topics from the SRA have found their way into the call. The aim of this call is to gain better understanding of the effects of low-dose ionising radiation on human health, to reinforce cooperation between the medical and nuclear sectors, and to develop science-based recommendations to decision-makers and practitioners.

The deadline for the call, providing funding of 8 to 10 million Euros (with only one project likely to be accepted), is October 5, 2016. The call contains topics lobbied for by the ESR, such as a coding system for medical imaging, a repository for dosimetry data, and biobanking infrastructure. It is expected that bidding for NFRP9 will be highly competitive, which is why the ESR has taken the initiative and suggested a common approach among the five medical societies to join forces and submit a single application under EIBIR’s management.