OMEGA-NET is a 4 year COST Action network, starting in October 2017, funded by EU. Occupation and paid employment is an essential component of adult life and a major determinant of health and healthy ageing. However, in recent years there has been very limited coordination and promotion of European health research on occupation and employment. Europe currently has some of the most valuable occupational, industrial, and population cohorts worldwide. The lack of integration of these cohorts hampers the optimal exploitation of these resources, essential to underpin evidence-based interventions and policy. The overarching concept of OMEGA-NET is to create a network to optimise the use of occupational, industrial, and population cohorts at the European level. OMEGA-NET will advance i) collaboration of existing cohorts, with extensive contemporary information on employment and occupational exposures, ii) coordination and harmonisation of occupational exposure assessment efforts, and iii) facilitation of an integrated research strategy for occupational health in Europe. We will inventory numerous cohorts with occupational information in Europe; implement an online interactive tool with detailed information on existing cohorts; facilitate work on harmonisation of occupational exposure and health outcome information and new protocols for data collection; connect scientific communities on occupational health in Europe and beyond; and provide networking, leadership, and training opportunities for early career researchers in occupational epidemiology and exposure assessment. Collaboration through OMEGA-NET will enhance the scientific output from individual studies and facilitate pooled studies, data sharing, and transfer of tools and skills to make greater and more efficient use of existing cohorts. The work will provide a foundation for an enhanced evidence base for the identification of health risks and gains related to occupation and employment to foster safe and healthy preventive strategies and policies. Researchers from countries outside Europe can participate in COST Actions on the basis of ascertained mutual benefit.
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