The goal of STAR is to efficiently integrate infrastructures and research efforts from eight European institutions into a sustainable network that contributes to a European Research Area in radioecology. Thus, a Joint Programme of Activities have been initiated, covering integration and sharing of infrastructures; training, education and mobility; knowledge management and dissemination. Focus has also been put on three key research themes: integrating human and non-human radiological risk assessments; radiation protection in a multi-contaminant context; and ecologically relevant low-dose effects. A strategic research agenda (SRA) has been developed and a road map is under way, addressing the key future scientific challenges in radioecology, of relevance for Horizon 2020. NMBU/CERAD has actively participating in all WPs, and is the lead for WP6 (Mobility, Training and Education). An E&T platform has been established with links to other EC funded education platforms. MSc course modules and training courses have been developed and tested (e.g. at NMBU), and new course modules established. Experimental work has been comprehensive, especially within WP5 (Ecologically Relevant Low Dose Effects) where test organisms (salmon parr) have been exposed to gamma radiation (different doses rates), and to uranium where BML model is tested. These experiments have been expanded into WP4 (Radiological Protection in a Multi-contaminant Context), where salmon parr have been exposed to combined stressors (gamma + Cd, gamma + U, U + Cd). Results show that U (and Cd) will deposit on gills, depending on the U speciation, and for the first time, the transfer of U across gill membranes to blood has been documented using synchrotron radiation microtechniques.
With a renewed interest in nuclear energy and the scientific challenges related to the nuclear fuel cycle, the need for radioecological expertise is increasing world-wide. Concurrently, education related to radioecology has steadily declined, leading expe rts are approaching retirement, and funding for radioecological research is at a minimum in many European countries. To face this challenge and avoid further fragmentation, nine leading organisations propose to establish a Network of Excellence in radioec ology, called STAR. The goal is to efficiently integrate important organisations, infrastructures, and research efforts into a sustainable network that contributes to a European Research Area in radioecology. To achieve this, a Joint Programme of Activiti es will be implemented covering integration and sharing of infrastructures; training, education and mobility; knowledge management and dissemination; as well as three key research themes (integrating human and non-human radiological risk assessments; radi ation protection in a multi-contaminant context; ecologically relevant low-dose effects). STAR will interact with other European and international research institutes in radioecology, radiobiology and ecology to produce the best research for addressing th e key scientific challenges in radioecology. To address stakeholders' needs and policy questions, a strong link with end-users will be achieved via dedicated workshops, conferences and advanced dissemination tools. STAR will promote integration, networkin g and scientific excellence to benefit human and environmental radiation protection.
The STAR project consists of 7 WPs and UMB will contribute to all but the co-ordination WP. The main activities will be in the three research and development WPs: WP3 (I ntegrating Human and Environmental Risk Assessments); WP4 (Radiological Protection in a Multi-contaminant Context); WP5 (Ecologically Relevant Low Dose Effects) and lead WP6 (Mobility, Training and Education