Joint workshop on initiatives of low-dose research co-ordination

This Joint workshop on initiatives of low-dose research co-ordination was co-organised by EPRI and its IDEA network, and by the NEA High-Level Group on Low-Dose Research (HLG-LDR). It continued collaboration between both organisations through a series of workshops and webinars on low-dose research. The International Dose Effect Alliance (IDEA) initiative was established in 2016, and since then, has provided the opportunity for low-dose radiation research organisations and individuals around the world to meet to exchange information on programmes, priorities and strategic research.

The HLG-LDR supports radiological protection policy, regulation, and implementation choices by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of research through global co-ordination of ongoing and future low-dose research projects. Other existing initiatives worldwide, such as the ones in Canada, Europe, and Japan, also contribute to this effort and were identified as major players in the elaboration of the programme of this event.

In this context, a scientific committee was convened to prepare the workshop programme, with participants from EPRI and its IDEA network, NEA CRPPH and its HLG-LDR, European research platforms MELODI, ALLIANCE, Japanese network PLANET and Canadian COHERE.

Scientific and policy context

The medical sector’s rapid advancement in utilising ionising radiation technologies, along with the expansion of the nuclear industry in many countries (e.g. nuclear energy production, decommissioning), is leading to a global increase in the number of workers, members of the public and the environment exposed to ionising radiation in various settings. In this context, concerns about the adverse effects and health risks of low-dose and low-dose-rate radiation (i.e. below 100 mSv or below 0.1 mSv/minute) on humans and other species are becoming increasingly influential in societal decision-making. This is mainly due to scientific uncertainties surrounding the effects of low-dose radiation and its management within the system of radiological protection.

The effects of low-dose radiation on health outcomes and their biological mechanisms in humans and non-human species are not fully understood. While cancer is the most studied disease associated with ionising radiation, there is growing evidence that low-dose radiation exposure of living organisms may also be associated with non-cancer health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, immune dysfunction, cataracts and transgenerational effects. Current estimates of health risks from low-dose radiation are highly uncertain, although the increase in risk is as small as the increase in dose for cancer. However, advances in research methods and technology make it possible to enhance knowledge of these radiation-related health effects. This makes it both urgent and feasible to improve our understanding of the health risks associated with radiation exposure in low-dose areas. A joint effort from the research community to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of research through global networking is especially crucial in this endeavour.

Global co-ordination of low-dose research Visual: NEA (2024)

Workshop scope and objectives

The specific objectives were:

  • to share knowledge on the latest research findings on low-dose radiation health outcomes and biological mechanisms associated with low-dose radiation exposure of humans and non-human species, as well as on new research methods and approaches;
  • to identify and develop mechanisms to expedite outreach to the radiological protection community on the importance of co-ordination in the field of low-dose research;
  • to strengthen the development of education and training resources for the next generation of researchers and radiological protection professionals;
  • to develop initiatives to bring together researchers and regulators, amplifying the impact of key research findings and thereby facilitating the transition of scientific research results to real-world applications.

A summary of the workshop’s findings will be issued as soon as practical after its conclusion, with full proceedings to be published in due course.


The workshop addressed the following topics (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Ongoing low-dose research: recent findings and their potential impact on radiological protection and public health

What are the most recent results including from basic research, relevant for various sectors (e.g., medical field, nuclear industry, NORMs, protection of the environment)?

  • Approaches to improve research strategy and mechanisms to build up research from individual organisations to national, regional and global stakeholders

What are the promising approaches (e.g. AOP, biomonitoring, (epi)genetic markers, use of biological archives) How can they improve efficiency of research in the low-dose area? Can these approaches leverage global networking? What can multi*- and trans**- disciplinary approaches bring? What are their foreseen impacts?

* same research goals to solve a problem, with findings from each discipline being supplementary to each other.

** approaches integrating knowledge across scientific disciplines and with non-academic stakeholders to address societal challenges. 

What are the key mechanisms and specific pre-requisites for building up low-dose research (e.g. communication, coordination, funding and resource allocation, standardisation of methods and protocols, management of legal, ethical, and practical challenges that arise when operating at larger scales)? What role could each regional initiative of low-dose research co-ordination play?

  • Potential actions to address weaknesses in the low-dose research co-ordination and governance

Where does co-ordination need to be improved (e.g. infrastructures, staff, funding capacities, training) and how? Does communication of research results to stakeholders (including policy and decision makers) play an essential role? How can international organisations help? 

  • Education and training initiatives in the field of low-dose research

What are the main existing education and training initiatives for radiological protection and how do they link to low dose research? How do these initiatives can help engage young researchers and professionals in the field to ensure continuity and innovation? How can international organisations help?

  • Structuring an open dialogue on low-dose research within the radiological protection community and beyond

How to foster a culture of open dialogue and collaboration (which is essential for addressing complex challenges)? How can policy and decision-makers ensure that they capture the most significant results? And how can the research community identify and take into account the needs of policy- and decision-makers how needs from policy- and decision-makers can be identified and taken into account by the research community?


The workshop welcomed participation from researchers across the multidisciplinary spectrum of the low-dose field, including social sciences and humanities. Additionally, representatives from both international and national organisations engaged in research governance were invited. This included not only experts and policymakers, but also administrators of research funding and representatives from pertinent international organisations or associations. This diverse gathering aims to foster a comprehensive and collaborative approach to advancing the field. The workshop was designed to accommodate both in-person and virtual participation. Approximately 60 participants attended in person and 70 participants followed the workshop online. 

Workshop venue, programme and important dates

The event was held at the NEA headquarters, Boulogne-Billancourt, France from 25-26 June 2024. 

The workshop programme sought to ensure a good balance between the different topical sessions and was structured around invited keynote speakers and interactive discussions.

Presentations given by the speakers are available for download.