Project Progress Update

The first period in a large European project is critical to our future success in achieving the expected impact. Part of it depends on our capacity to rapidly implement and organise the consortium around a clear, feasible and ambitious project plan. Such early stages in the project also often correspond to the transition from the end of other projects and the start of a new collective scientific adventure.

Our contractual obligation with the European Commission (EC) means that we have to periodically report project progress and financial activity. This periodic reporting initially happens 18 months in, where the consortium has to pull together a variety of information to demonstrate our achievements. To gather and collate the information from all 18 partners is no easy task, but we are pleased to say that this report was completed, on time, at the end of August 2021. A formal project review by the EC will follow in October.

One of LongITools’ first achievements has been to recruit people to our vibrant science-based and innovative SME community, now comprised of more than 100 active consortium members.

Each of the 11 work packages (WPs), and the collaborative working groups across them, have fulfilled their objectives and milestones including for:

  • WP1 – Building the team, developing and implementing the project plan and monitoring processes, and successfully organising LongITools relevant meetings and workshops regardless of the constraint imposed on us by the COVID19 pandemic.
  • WP2 – Creating the first LongITools data catalogue and linking it to other projects in the EHEN.
  • WP3 – Training the team to acquire and link environmental exposures to health data and piloting new ways to score individual exposome and expo-types.
  • WP4 – Reading the metabolomics profile of about 3,500 individuals.
  • WP4, 5, 6 and 8 – Through the Data Inventory and Harmonisation Working group, defining the first strategic analyses and inventorying and proposing the harmonisation protocol supporting meta-analysis across the 21 clinical studies in LongITools.
  • WP7 – Proposing the framework for a machine learning based health care application.
  • WP8 – Conducting a review of the past and current relevant policies in Europe to analyse ways to bring contrast and mitigate the individual exposome.
  • WP9 – Developing communication and dissemination tools, including the project website, Innovation Platform and a video, and the successful organisation of the first Science Connecting Policy workshop taking place during EU Green Week.
  • WP10 – Together with the 8 other projects funded under the same cluster, we have created the framework and the infrastructure of the European Human Exposome Network (EHEN) whilst actively participating in EHEN working groups and events.
  • WP11 – Making sure that all data (and the researchers using data in LongITools) are used in compliance with ethics regulations and the European GDPR.

As a result of our efforts, 18 scientific publications have been produced (often through collaboration between projects) and dissemination and outreach activity has helped connect the consortium with a growing community of stakeholders.

In conclusion, the first period of LongITools was very successful, thanks to all the individuals involved, and progress during the second period can continue with the momentum created so far.