Bart Bosveld, SETAC Europe Executive Director
We are marching towards Rome, and the pressure is on – not only for the SETAC office and the organizing committee to make sure the SETAC Europe 28th Annual Meeting from 13–17 May in Rome runs smoothly, but also for all the committees that have the opportunity to meet face-to-face during the conference to talk about the policy issues that keep us busy as a society. With approximately 2,500 delegates pre-registered for the conference, it is going to be the biggest meeting ever for SETAC Europe. Starting on Sunday, daily keynote speakers will talk about some controversial topics that should be of interest to all the delegates, and if you can’t be in Rome to attend the conference, you can view a live stream of their presentations on the SETAC YouTube channel and SETAC Facebook page. From Monday to Thursday, both core SETAC research areas and emerging topics in environmental toxicology and chemistry will be presented and discussed in 10 parallel sessions full of platform and poster presentations. Elsewhere in this Globe issue, Anna Barra Caracciolo, the chair of the organizing committee for SETAC Rome, presents the highlights of the scientific and social program. Since Barra Carracciolo will focus on these two areas, I will put my focus in this article on other activities that go hand-in-hand with the annual meeting.
Election of New Council Members and the Planning for the Coming Year
For SETAC Europe, the month of May and the annual meeting is also the closure of the old year and the start of a new one. The council will start to function with a new member composition when some members rotate off and new ones are elected at the Annual General Assembly on Wednesday, 16 May, in the Workshop Room at the Rome Convention Centre La Nuvola. José Julio Ortega-Calvo, our immediate past president and members Charmaine Ajao, Patrick Kabouw, Kari Lehtonen and Kristin Schirmer will all rotate off the council. We express our gratitude for their service, and we thank them very much for all the time and efforts they devoted to SETAC Europe during their term. Nine excellent candidates are now lined up for the election into the positions that become vacant with their departure.
The Annual General Assembly is the time we approve the past year’s accounts. The financial report provides us with an accurate picture of the financial situation of the society and the availability of funds for our activities in support of the SETAC mission. The general assembly will be asked to approve the 2018 budget and the strategic choices for the coming year through a vote on the financials presented.
Interesting times and a busy year are coming. In addition to the annual meeting in May, there will be an LCA Symposium addressing “Food, Fibre, Feed, Fertiliser and Other Resources: The Role of LCA in Shaping the Future,” a Special Science Symposium (SESSS) on the “Extrapolation of Effects Across Biological Levels” and four workshops this year. The certification program has entered a second stage, is gaining momentum, and we are exploring online course and live streaming options. With regard to membership and administration, we will soon launch a survey to learn about how you would like to see SETAC, and we are preparing for the new General Data Protection Regulation that will affect all of us. These and other activities are part of the strategic action plan that was adopted by the council and presented in the February issue of the Globe by our incoming president Karel De Schamphelaere.
The SETAC Europe program for the certification of environmental risk assessors has moved to the next phase and a multiple-choice exam has been developed to test the basic knowledge on the nine topics of relevance for environmental risk assessment. The first opportunity to sit for this exam will be on Monday, 14 May in Rome. If you plan to go to Rome for the annual meeting and feel that you are ready for this exam, or if you want to test your knowledge to find out the areas where you may need some additional training, this might be an excellent opportunity. Since it is the first time for this exam, no examination fees will apply. The multiple-choice exam covers one of the requirements for admission to the final oral examination and registration as SETAC Certified Environmental Risk Assessor (CRA).
The title of CRA is recognized and respected by the major institutions that are involved in environmental risk assessment, including the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the European Commission (Food Safety Authority [EFSA], European Chemicals Agency [ECHA], Joint Research Centre [JRC]), national environmental and health agencies, major chemical industry associations (ECPA, CEFIC, Concawe, ECETOC, EuroChlor, Eurometaux) and environmental consultancy organizations. So far 10 risk assessment experts have been granted this title:
- Bart Bossuyt, Huntsman, Belgium
- Leo Posthuma, RIVM, the Netherlands
- Patrick Van Sprang ARCHE Consulting, Belgium
- Kelly Quinlan Kappler, Johnson & Johnson, United States
- Inge van Ginneken, Janssen Pharmaceutica, NV, Belgium
- Frederik Verdonck, ARCHE Consulting, Belgium
- Nikola Bitsch, Celanese Deutschland Holding GmbH, Germany
- Marta Sobanska, ECHA, Finland
- Emily Garman, NiPERA, United States
- Charmaine Ajao, ECHA, Finland
These individuals made use of the option that is available for experienced environmental risk assessors, applied for direct registration and passed the evaluation successfully. Others are enrolled in the program and are preparing for a final oral exam that will be administered during the Rome meeting.
Find out more about CRA topics and courses, the multiple-choice exam, the final oral exam or the route for direct certification at the CRA website, or register directly for the multiple choice exam on 14 May 2018 by sending an email to email@example.com. Places are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Protecting Your Personal Data
One of the challenges ahead for SETAC is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was approved and adopted by the European Parliament in 2016 and will be in force on 25 May 2018. This regulation serves to protect people from the misuse of personal data and applies to all organizations processing and holding the personal data of individuals residing in the European Union, regardless of the organization’s location. Since SETAC serves as an umbrella organization for members in different geographies and personal data is exchanged across the organization and the world, this regulation applies to SETAC at the global and geographic unit levels.
The essence of the GDPR is two-fold: First, organizations must receive explicit consent to store, handle, process or transfer personal data, and they must guarantee that such information is securely stored. Second, the GDPR recognizes individual rights to access, change or delete personal data, as well as the right to oppose the processing or marketing use of that information.
As said at the beginning, we do have an interesting and busy year ahead. Together with the amazing team at the SETAC office, the council, the committees and all volunteer contributors, I am looking forward to fitting all the pieces together and work on our shared mission to support Environmental Quality Through Science®. I hope to see you soon at our annual meeting in Rome!
Author’s contact information: Bart.firstname.lastname@example.org