The cross-cutting activity (CCA) Radiation Research aims at understanding the impact of ionizing radiation on biological systems at various scales, capitalizing on the competences in radiation research from different research fields. The activity includes radioecology, radiation protection, dosimetry, radiobiology, and radiotherapy.
Radiation is indeed a double-edged sword. On the one hand, research on high dose effects in tumors and normal tissues is highly necessary to improve cancer treatment. On the other hand, investigation of long-term effects of exposure (external or internal) to low dose and low dose rate radiation is relevant for the prolonged intermediate disposal of nuclear waste in the context of the phase-out of German nuclear power plants (7th Federal Energy Research Program).
The CCA bundles the expertise of different centers in various research fields to enable knowledge-based societal decisions in both radiation medicine and radiation protection. Radiation Research was already established in PoF-III funding period, involving the research fields Health and Energy. The initiative led to a number of collaborative research activities and to the identification of potential synergies. In PoF-IV, we aim to extend the network to the research fields Energy (HZDR, KIT), Health (DKFZ, HZDR, HMGU), and Matter (GSI, HZB, HZDR, FZJ), with contributions from Aeronautics, Space and Transport (DLR) and Information (FZJ). The goal is to strengthen the links among the various research fields and to exploit the different expertise in the Helmholtz Association in order to address key problems in radiation research.