As a first step, HBM4EU will identify and collate existing human biomonitoring data that is held by our broad range of partners in 26 countries across Europe. We will review this data against current policy questions, to determine what questions might be addressed by currently available data.

Where we identify gaps in the available evidence, we will generate new human biomonitoring data through the implementation of targeted surveys and the analysis of biobanked samples.

Data Management

In order to ensure that our work with data respects all relevant ethics and legal requirements at both national and European level, we have developed a Data Management Plan and a Data Policy.

The Data Management Plan describes the data management life cycle for all datasets collected, processed and generated under the project. It describes:

  • How research data is handled during and after the project
  • What type of data will be collected, processed and used
  • What methodologies and standards will be applied
  • Whether and how the data will be made accessible
  • How the data are stored

The Data Policy describes the data management procedures to be followed by the consortium. These procedures ensure that data on human subjects are transferred and used in a secure setting, in compliance with ethico-legal requirements.

Requirements are set under:

  • Consent forms signed by survey participants
  • Ethics approvals at national level
  • Data protection laws at national level
  • The EU General Data Protection Regulation
  • The data transfer agreement signed by the data owner or provider

Data use requires the explicit consent of the data owner and/or data provider.

Multiplying the benefits of data

It is a principle aim of the project to increase the availability of human biomonitoring data to policy makers, stakeholders and the broader research community, in order to multiply the benefits that can be generated through its use.

As such, all human biomonitoring data generated under the project will be made available to policy makers and all metadata will be accessible via IPCHEM – the Information Platform for Chemical Monitoring. Existing data used under HBM4EU will also be made available via IPCHEM to the extent possible while respecting all ethics and legal restrictions that might apply.

IPCHEM is the reference access point for discovering chemical monitoring data collections which are managed by and are available to European Commission bodies, Member States, international and national organisations and research communities.

The Platform aims to support a more coordinated approach for collecting, storing, accessing and assessing data related to the occurrence of chemicals and chemical mixtures, in relation to humans and the environment. This responds to the need identified in the European Commission’s 2012 Communication on the combination effects of chemicals.

IPCHEM is designed and implemented as a de-centralised system, providing remote access to existing information systems and data providers.