Medical exposures form the largest manmade contributor to total ionising radiation exposure of the UK population. In recent years, new technologies have been developed to improve treatment and prognosis of individuals treated with radiation for diseases such as cancer. However, there is evidence of public, patient, and medical professional concern that radiation protection regulations and practices, as well as understanding of potential long-term adverse health effects of radiation exposure (in the context of other health risks), have not always ‘kept pace’ with technological developments in this field. This is a truly complex, multi-disciplinary problem for the modern world. The ‘Radiation Theme’ of the Public Health England and Newcastle University Health Protection Research Unit on ‘Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards’ is addressing this need, with a key focus on a genuinely interdisciplinary approach bringing together world-leading epidemiologists, radiation biologists, clinicians, statisticians, and artists. In addition, the project has a strong grounding in public, patient, and medical professional involvement in research. Similarly, the EU-CONCERT-funded LDLensRad project seeks to understand the mechanisms of action of low-dose ionising radiation in the lens of the eye, and the potential contribution to the development of cataract – in contemporary research, such projects will only be considered successful when they make use of expertise from a variety of fields and when they are able to demonstrate that the outputs are not only of benefit to society, but that society understands and welcomes the benefits. Finally, successful engagement, training, and retention of early career scientists within this field is crucial for sustainability of the research. Herein, the contribution of embedded interdisciplinary working, stakeholder involvement, and training of early career scientists to recent advancements in the field of medical (and wider) radiation protection research is discussed and considered.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The LDLensRad project has received funding from the Euratom research and training programme 2014–2018 in the framework of CONCERT (Grant Agreement No. 662287).
This work was supported, in part, by NIHR HPRU in Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards at Newcastle University in partnership with PHE. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of NIHR, the Department of Health, or PHE.
This work was supported, in part, by NIHR HPRU in Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards at Newcastle University in partnership with PHE. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of NIHR, the Department of Health, or PHE. The LDLensRad project has received funding from the Euratom research and training programme 2014?2018 in the framework of CONCERT (Grant Agreement No. 662287). The author wishes to acknowledge a large number of international collaborators, particularly the fundamental contributions of all partners of HPRU (https://www.ncl.ac.uk/hpru/) and the LDLensRad project (https://www.researchgate.net/project/LDLensRad-the-European-CONCERT-project-starting-in-2017-Towards-a-full-mechanistic-understanding-of-low-dose-radiation-induced-cataracts), including the key contributions of the stakeholders mentioned herein, without whom this work would not have been possible.
© 2020, International Commission of Radiological Protection.
- Early career science
- ICRP Bo Lindell Award
- Ionising radiation
- Multi-disciplinary research
- Radiation protection
- Stakeholder involvement