BEEP – Bigdata in Environmental and occupational Epidemiology

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BEEP – Bigdata in Environmental and occupational Epidemiology

The BEEP project (Big data in Environmental and occupational EPidemiology), started on 29/6/2017 and finished on 27/02/2020. It was funded by INAIL and had an overall budget of 1,040,000 euro. Giovanni Viegi (IBIM, and IRIB afterwards, in close collaboration with IFC) is the scientific coordinator of the project, with a budget of 231,000 euro for IBIM-IRIB. There were other 9 partners, which were mainly research and epidemiology units located throughout Italy. Among them, two other CNR Institutes: ISAC and IPCF.


The BEEP project aimed, using a Big Data approach, at assessing the health effects of temperature and air pollution at a national scale, using fine spatial resolutions, and focusing on rural-suburban areas aside from metropolitan ones. Indeed, the general objective was to estimate the health effects of air pollution, noise and meteorological parameters in the Italian general population (morbidity, hospitalization, mortality, occupational injuries), focusing on different spatial domains at increasing spatial resolutions: the whole Italy, 5 regions (Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Latium, Apulia and Sicily), 6 cities (Milan, Turin, Bologna, Rome, Bari and Palermo) and 2 sub-urban areas (Pisa and Rome).


In order to generate daily maps of environmental exposure at finer resolution, the methodologies applied included numerical model simulations (WRF-ARW and FARM model) and random forests models applied to satellite, environmental monitoring, land use and traffic flow data. The time-frame was 2006-2015. Daily exposure data were therefore linked to the health data (i.e. hospitalizations, mortality, and morbidities) for the same time-frame, and different types of regression models (i.e. Cox, Poisson, conditional and standard logistic) were estimated for assessing the health effects. In particular, there was an external partner (the private company ARIANET), which specifically dealt with the estimation of the daily maps, that were extremely time-and-resource consuming. Indeed, ARIANET had previous documented experiences in the field and could take advantage of High-Performance Computing platforms for modelling.




The results revealed that air pollution and extreme temperatures have both short-term and long-term effects on the health of the general population (in particular, children and the elderly) and in populations of workers, as well as in rural-suburban areas besides metropolitan ones. The results of the project were disseminated through several international congresses and were the basis for several publications in international journals.




Future Directions

These results provide important indications for public decision makers about air quality, urban environment planning, and protection of the health of the population. Moreover, they highlight the large potentialities of using Big Data and stimulated new research. Further knowledge will be achieved through the new project, BIGEPI, financed by the BRIC-INAIL 2019-21 call and coordinated by Sara Maio, IFC-CNR,with the collaboration of IRIB-CNR, started on October 2020.




  • Giovanni Viegi Research Director
  • Stefania La Grutta Research Director
  • Salvatore Fasola Research Fellow
  • Sergio Bonomo Researcher
  • Anna Bonomolo  Technologist
  • Liana Pecorella Administrative Assistant
  • Daniela Riccobono Administrative Assistant
  • Sabrina Sanzone Administrative Assistant
  • Alessandro Pensato Technical Assistant


Funded by :