The research plan was designed by the research consortium and reviewed by several experts and stakeholders.
Review of the research proposal
Review by international experts
In October-November 2014, the exposure research proposal was submitted to 19 international experts for review. Of these experts, 16 completed their review in time. RIVM Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu and the research consortium are very enthusiastic about the results of the review: the study plan scored a 3.2 out of 4 and the research consortium itself a 3.9 out of 4. Regardless of the average scores from the experts, their general conclusion was that the research design is excellent and well-planned and that the study is relevant and necessary, both scientifically and societally.
Review by the scientific advisory committee
The research proposal and comments of the international experts were reviewed by the scientific advisory committee. The committee is positive about the proposal, but stipulated that the preparation prior to measurements needs special attention.
Completing the research proposal
Advice stakeholders group
The research consortium adjusted the proposal, taking into consideration the comments from the foreign specialists and scientific advisory committee. Next the proposal was submitted to the stakeholders group. In January 2015, the new research proposal and advices from the specialists and committee were discussed by the stakeholders group. The stakeholders group gave recommendations on the research plan, and on the selection of methods and pesticides.
The stakeholders group expressed their appreciation for the depth of the research and for the curiosity and open-minded attitude of the researchers. They are also satisfied with the societal and scientific relevance of the study.
The adjusted research proposal, including a cost estimate, was submitted to the ministries in January. Shortly thereafter, the ministries requested that RIVM analyze how the research could be carried out with the same societal and scientific strength but with a lower budget. RIVM consulted the research consortium, and the possibilities they assembled together were presented to the ministries. RIVM and the research consortium emphasized the importance of safeguarding the scientific and societal quality of the research.
In the end, the ministries of Infrastructure & Water Management and of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy commissioned the research in phases, starting with residents near flower bulb cultivation. The stakeholders group approved the adjusted research proposal and supports the new phased planning. The work packages have been contracted between RIVM and the research partners in the consortium.