Following the publication of the Task Group's report "Protection of the Environment: Current Status and Future Work", the main emphasis of this task group has changed to one that focuses on the identification and prioritisation of the research requirements in the field of protection of the environment from ionising radiation. There is a pressing need to identify and help to address through innovative research, knowledge gaps that affect our ability to make scientifically defensible decisions and risk assessments regarding the biological impact of ionising radiation released in to the environment. Many of us can already list a number of the key issues but there is a need to identify all the issues and to address those that are of highest priority in allowing the development of suitable assessment tools and to provide the science that underpins the acceptance of these tools in society.
This task group has the following primary objectives:
To identify knowledge gaps and to prioritise research requirements to address them; and
To identify researchers and facilities where the research may be conducted to address these knowledge gaps.
And a secondary objective to improve communication, particularly at an international level, on issues related to the protection of the environment from ionising radiation via setting up a virtual network for discussion. It is hoped that this will help to harmonise the approaches being developed and eventually to provide a forum for testing and validating assessment tools.
It is hoped that IUR members will become involved in this process initially through an interactive website (use link below "Constructing the International Research Network - Questionnaire") and it is expected that there will be follow up meetings to discuss and, in particular, make recommendations on the research priorities that can be used to influence research programmes in the future. These recommendations will be transmitted to organisations that may have available research funds for work on the impact of ionising radiation in the environment in order to maximise benefit from the use of the available funds.
· Initial discussions on the requirements for the interactive website (February 2004)
· A core group will discuss and prepare the questions to appear on the website. An invitation will be made to identify interested parties and IUR members who can participate in the review of the information received. (up to September 2004)
· Interactive website and data collection to start (January 2005) for both the available facilities and researchers within the IUR membership and information on knowledge gaps
· Three month live period while the website is running for IUR members and other interested parties to provide ideas and list knowledge gaps (February - May 2005)
· Review of information received and summary prepared for discussion at the Nice conference task group meeting (September 2005)
· Dissemination of final summary report (November 2005)
It is expected that this task group will have close links with other IUR task groups for example "Radioecology in a multipollution context" as well as organisations conducting research in this field and stakeholders.
International Union of Radioecology (2002) Protection of the Environment: Current Status and Future Work.
IUR Report n°3 (2003), 23pp. Task Group Chairs: Strand P. and Oughton D. Report contributors: Brechignac F., Brown J., Copplestone D., Domotor S., Howard B., Hunter G., Mobbs H., Oughton D., Pentreath J., Robinson C., Woodhead D., Zhu Y.
IUR Report n° 5 (2006), Radiological protection of the environment - IUR web-based questionnaire results - Research, Facilities and Scientific priorities, 154 pages.
(Can be downloaded from the links below)