Iseult Lynch, Scientific Committee Chair of the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting, University of Birmingham

Following the hugely successfully SETAC Europe 29th Annual Meeting in Helsinki, Finland, which addressed the theme of “One Environment. One Health. Sustainable Societies,” our thoughts turn now to the future as the organization of the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting from 3–7 May 2020 in Dublin gets underway in earnest. Intensive preparations are already ongoing by the SETAC Europe office team on the logistical side, the Scientific Committee on the program side, and you, the SETAC members, in terms of determining the session content. You may have noticed that the call for session topics is already open, so start drafting your session proposals and submit them by 15 August 2019.

The theme for the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting is “Open Science for Enhanced Global Environmental Protection” and aims to reflect on how sharing environmental data can bridge the gap between countries who have access to the latest technologies and those that don’t. By working collaboratively, we can support the huge effort required collectively to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Open data, and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data, which are fundamentally about data sharing and the eventual removal of restrictions on the reuse of data, is essential to identifying issues to address global environmental inequalities and ensuring climate justice.

Due to the complexity, cross-disciplinarity and wickedness of many of the most pressing environmental challenges, big data and open data solutions are essential. These include ecosystem resilience to the combined stressors of increased pollution and climate change, the intersection of legacy and emerging pollutants as highlighted by the current “plastic crisis,” and the aforementioned UN Sustainable Development goals. A FAIR and open data ecosystem is crucial to all three SETAC stakeholders and its tripartite activities: to advance research progress, to drive innovation and positive socioeconomic impact, and to allow policy makers access to relevant information to foster change.

The choice of Dublin as the host for the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting and the theme of “Open Science for Enhanced Global Environmental Protection” fit together well: Dublin is home to Europe’s Silicon Docks, where tech giants like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Etsy as well as numerous tech start-ups have their European headquarters. It’s estimated that more than 7,000 tech professionals work in and around the Grand Canal Docks area, which is directly across the river Liffey from the Convention Center, where SETAC Dublin will take place. Dublin has also been voted the friendliest city in Europe by travelers on TripAdvisor not once, but twice, and it is also Europe’s “youngest” capital city with more than 40% of its 1 million inhabitants under 30 years of age. The meeting website already contains lots of information on things to see and do in Dublin, so we hope that you will stay a few additional days and experience what Dublin has to offer.

We think that you will agree that Dublin is the perfect location for the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting and look forward to welcoming you next year. As always, SETAC is YOUR society, so please get involved to help us shape the scientific and social content of the meeting. Given that Dublin is the home of both Guinness (the black stuff) and the Guinness Book of Records, we hope that you will join us on site for an unmissable opportunity to be part of breaking a Guinness World record – we are currently finalizing the details and will post more information as it is confirmed!

So mark your calendars, book your tickets, and submit your session proposals, pick up a “cúpla focal Gaeilge” (a few Irish words) to make sure you are part of the next must-attend SETAC Europe conference!

Fáilte go SETAC baile átha Cliath! (Welcome to SETAC Dublin!)

Author’s contact information: I.Lynch@bham.ac.uk

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