Funding: EC-Framework Programme Seven (FP7)

Video documentaries; stakeholder interviews, surveys and workshop; website text; scientific articles and reports; conference presentations; conference booth.

PublicSpace is the UK partner in the three-year EC-FP7-funded ‘ORCHESTRA’ project.  The project is part of the FP7 initiatives to promote the wider dissemination and use of research findings from EC-funded projects, and to develop insight, expertise and a range of methodologies in research communication.

ORCHESTRA is about disseminating the findings of nine previous research projects which have developed and explored the use of QSAR / In Silico methods for the evaluation of chemical toxicity.   In silico methods can play a potentially important role in pursuing one of the fundamental aims of the 2007 EU REACH legislation, ‘to promote alternative methods for assessing hazards of substances and to see animal testing as a last resort’.

The dissemination is therefore to regulators, industrial users, policy-makers and other stakeholders across Europe.  With partners in Italy, France, Greece and Germany, we are investigating the information needs and interest of the potential users and stakeholders, and then developing and using a set of appropriate research communication strategies.

During the project we are using video to support the collaboration between the geographically dispersed team, to make key interviews with stakeholders available to the wider team, and to record key moments and events.

A key output of the project has been producing a video documentary:  QSARs in REACH? Uses, issues and priorities’, based on our research interviews with regulators, industry and QSAR model developers.  This was shown continuously during the SETAC Europe 2011 conference in Milan in a booth, where project experts from the Istituto Mario Negri in Milan offered hands-on use of QSAR models for evaluating toxicity (see our video report).  The documentary is now streamed online on the main project website.  Other collaborative outputs available on the project website include technical and non-technical surveys, an introductory booklet, and online video of interviews and conference presentations.  The project intranet also includes a stakeholder database and full video recordings of interviews for reference by the team.

Based on the dialogue with stakeholders, Simon Pardoe has also given platform presentations on the issues of stakeholder concern – reliability, review of outputs and the challenges for industry of regulatory demands – at the SETAC Europe and SETAC UK 2011 conferences, and at the Workshop organised by the project in Milan for 100 European regulators and industry representatives.

Further information:  ORCHESTRA is funded under the European Commission Framework 7 Programme (FP7).  ORCHESTRA stands for: ‘Organising dissemination on Results of projects on CHemical Evaluation, Spreading Techniques for Risk Assessment’.