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The SEARCH II partnership comprises over 50 individual national experts from 10 countries in Europe and the Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (the EECCA region). From diverse professional backgrounds, these experts work in a range of fields including environment and health and energy efficiency. The project is supported by ministries of the environment, non-governmental organisations, state agencies for the environment and public health, national institutes, technical universities, foundations, companies and individual consultants.


National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

Italy’s National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) is a public body under the aegis of the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS). It was established by Law 133/2008, which merged the main national research institutes and the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to research activities, ISPRA fulfils the functions of the Environmental Protection Agency at national level and oversees the tasks of environmental reporting, information monitoring and training in the country’s network of regional environmental protection agencies.
The institute is responsible for the Italian National Environmental Information System (SINAnet) and hosts the national focal point of the European Environment Information and Observation Network (EIONET) of the European Environment Agency (EEA). It also hosts the Environment and Health Unit, mainly supporting IMELS in national, European and international activities. This unit hosts the national focal point for the EEA network of national reference centres.

Roman Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Institute of Public Health and Hygiene, Xenebiotics Laboratories

The Institute of Public Health and Hygiene is organised in research units that include public health; health service research; primary health care; epidemiology and biostatistics; genetic epidemiology; and environmental and chemical toxicology. National and international projects in which the institute is directly involved include: SPHERE (Strengthening Public Health Research in Europe); Genetic Epidemiology of Oral Cancer and Stomach Cancer within the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology Consortium; and the Health Technology Assessment of HPV Vaccination.

Italian project team

The Italian project team comprises representatives of the Italian Trust Fund (ITF); the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS); the National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA); and the Institute of Public Health and Hygiene, Xenebiotics Laboratories, of the Roman Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. The team also includes an independent energy expert.

The Italian project team is chaired by ISPRA, which also maintains contacts with the REC head office management team. It is also responsible for the SEARCH II communication plan and for indoor air quality and energy reports. It also manages the Italian SEARCH website. At international level, ISPRA collaborates with the REC head office management team on the implementation of tasks related to the international health comfort and energy consumption assessments.

All members of the project team were involved in the SEARCH II field studies carried out in 14 schools throughout Italy, bringing their different skills into play in dealing with municipalities and energy authorities and undertaking the health comfort and energy consumption assessments.
IMELS experts were mainly responsible for the selection and official involvement of the Italian schools, relationships with local authorities, and the management of all field studies carried out by the Italian project team, including its work schedule and budget. At the international level, IMELS also coordinates activities with the REC head office management team.

Experts from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart are involved at both the national and international level. As a leading body in Italy in terms of research into outdoor and indoor living and working environments, the partnership and involvement of the Xenobiotics Unit was greatly valued in the planning and finalisation of the questionnaires, and the methodology and evaluation procedures for the SEARCH II health comfort assessment. The Italian project team also contributed to the final health comfort assessment recommendations for all participating countries, in collaboration with Hungarian experts.

Dr. Julio Calzoni, an independent energy consultant, was officially appointed as a member of the Italian SEARCH II project team and had the specific role of managing the energy consumption assessments in the selected Italian schools. In close cooperation with the Hungarian energy experts, he contributed to the identification and definition of the procedure and methodology for the entire energy assessment project component for all involved countries.

All members of the Italian project team contributed to the elaboration and finalisation of the international SEARCH II indoor air quality and health report. The Italian team is committed to contributing to local and national dissemination activities after the end of the project and to extending the partnership to include the many authorities that already collaborate on project implementation, including municipalities and regional environmental and energy agencies.

The Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, a non-profit care and research institute (IRCCS) supported the project through the involvement of technicians who carried out the spirometry measurements and analyses in the scope of the environment and health project component. Experts from the institute had already collaborated with the REC during the SEARCH I project and are involved in other environment and health projects implemented by the REC. The institute was founded in 1965 with a core mission to support pulmonary, heart and neuro-muscular rehabilitation, as well as medical research. It was established by the Ministry of Health with the aim of defining and implementing priority National Health Plan activities.

Hungarian project team

There are two key Hungarian partners in the SEARCH II project: the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIEH)

The NIEH was research coordinator for the SEARCH I project and provided the central laboratory for the analysis of passive samplers from five countries. It has collaborated with the REC since 2003. The NIEH is involved in building the capacity of environment and health experts in Central and Eastern Europe. It works closely with the REC on related projects, such as the Schools Indoor Pollution and Health: Observatory Network in Europe (SINPHONIE), providing expert advice to REC country offices in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia and Serbia.

Experts from Comfort Consulting Ltd. were involved in carrying out national energy consumption assessments in Hungarian schools. Acting director Dr. Zoltan Magyar has a significant role in the project at international level, having developed the project’s energy assessment protocol and manual. In close consultation with the Italian international energy expert, he developed recommendations for ventilation in school buildings and for school building materials to protect children’s health. The final project recommendations are based on measurements from all participating countries.

Additional partners

The SEARCH II partnership also includes the REC country office network, with experts from REC offices in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia contributing to the implementation of activities. The REC is also involved in Belarus and Ukraine, while in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, SEARCH II activities were managed by the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), which was established in 2001 as a sister organisation to the REC.


Ministero Dell'ambiente Italian Trust Fund