Paolo Masoni, Meeting Co-chair; Roel Evens, SETAC Europe Scientific Project Manager; and Rebecca Bundschuh, SETAC Europe Education Project Manager
La Nuvola Conference Center in Rome

“La Nuvola” Conference Center

The SETAC Europe 28th Annual Meeting, held from 13–17 May in Rome, Italy, is fast approaching. The scientific program is organized in 72 regular sessions with an exceptionally high number (2,556) of contributions – the highest ever for a SETAC Europe annual meeting.

“Responsible and Innovative Research for Environmental Quality” is the leading theme of the Rome meeting. Responsible research and innovation is an interactive and transparent process with which scientists and social stakeholders work together on ethical and sustainability aspects in order to ensure an appropriate implementation of scientific progress in our society. The safeguarding of the environment is an ethical duty for every citizen and in particular for us, as environmental scientists. Indeed, we have a huge responsibility to develop, communicate and implement scientific knowledge. This includes managing the toxicological and ecotoxicological effects of chemicals through developing and implementing methods and tools that will help reduce risk and regulate their use. This responsibility is becoming even more urgent now when transformative technologies can deeply affect our world and when circular economic pressures will increase the possibility that dangerous substances are comingled and recycled together with valuable materials.

A Series of Special Sessions

The scientific program also includes several special sessions, organized to give emphasis to emerging, often of high societal concerns, many with multi- and transdisciplinary topics. For example, the Mediterranean Sea is one of the areas strongly affected by marine litter, and a special session will address the harmful effects of plastic litter and the strategies being used to mitigate them. In addition, 2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage, and we will highlight the contribution of chemistry and material science to knowledge, and importantly, includes monitoring and conservation from pollution and aggressive environmental conditions. A special session will give an overview of the main problems and innovative research into the safeguarding and conservation of cultural heritage. Moreover, a special session will give a clear picture of the general context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with high-level speakers from the United Nations and EU Commission, as well as research and policy planners. The goal of this special session will aid in helping each participant to better understand how their personal work can contribute to the overarching SDGs and find suitable research funding. Other sessions will directly address some of the SDGs, for example, emerging pollutants and mixture risk evaluation in European freshwater, environmental specimen banks in research and regulation for a better environmental quality. Finally, a special session will be dedicated to demonstrating how, through good science, constructive discussion and open communication, scientific and regulatory progress, shared by all stakeholders, can promote environmental sustainability.

Attend One of the Symposia, Workshops or a Hackathon

A few exciting events are taking place on Sunday, 13 May, in Rome. Don’t miss out on them and register now:

  • SETAC Europe Interest Group on Science and Risk Communication – Symposium and Workshop
    Review the state of work within the SETAC Europe Interest Group on Science and Risk Communication (SCIRIC) and the state of outreach activities from environmental sciences and the SETAC community. You will learn hands-on with familiar examples, and members of SCIRIC will benefit from the discussions and your questions and ideas. The workshop will start with two presentations by communication experts to set the scene for the subsequent discussions in small outbreak groups. This promises to be a very entertaining, interactive and creative event, which will provide clear directions for future SCIRIC programming.
  • Pharmaceuticals Interest Group Symposium: Human Health Risk Assessment of Antibiotic Resistance Development in the Environment – State of the Science Six Years After the Québec Workshop
    A workshop held in Québec, Canada, in 2012 aimed to define the scope and objectives of an environmental assessment of antibiotic resistance risks to human health. This symposium is a must attend for those professionals wishing to be updated about the state of the science six years after the original workshop. Different views will be offered on the increasing use of antibiotics in food producing animals, including the use of human second-line antibiotics for standard treatment in animals, the production sites of pharmaceuticals as an often neglected entry path into the environment and lastly, the strategies industries are using to tackle this widespread problem.
  • Mechanistic Effect Models Interest Group Hackathon
    This computational and hands-on event promises to be fun and informative. Participants will be working in groups on a scientific problem that can be solved with mechanistic effect modeling. The problem will be set by the organizers in consultation with members of the interest group and participants who registered by 20 March, the early bird registration deadline. All activities will be relevant to the application of mechanistic effect modeling in science and regulation. At the end of the day, all groups will present their results, and participants will be given the opportunity to discuss and learn from fellow participants. A prize will be awarded to the team with the best solution!

Help Judge Student Presentations

Each year at the annual meeting, we acknowledge the Best Platform and Best Poster Presentation, which is sponsored by ECETOC, during the Young Scientist Award ceremony. The winners will be announced at the closing ceremony on Thursday.

Our goal is to assign all presentations to reviewers prior to the meeting, but we need you to help make this happen. So please go to the meeting website and become a judge!

First CRA Multiple-Choice Examination

For the first time, the SETAC Europe Certification of Environmental Risk Assessors (CRA) program is organizing a multiple-choice examination in Rome. Participants can demonstrate basic knowledge and competences in all nine CRA topics by passing the test. It will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, 15 May. For further information about registration, see the CRA website or contact cra@setac.org.

The venue of the annual meeting is the “Nuvola,” the new Rome Convention Centre designed by the architect Fuksas. It is a work of extraordinary artistic value, which represents a cloud suspended in the sky, consisting of a huge white sheet made of glass fiber inside a steel and glass theca. We are sure that every participant of the annual meeting will enjoy meeting other reputed colleagues, keeping their head in the sky and cloud of the future but with the feet on the solid ground of science.

Authors’ contact information: p.masoni@ecoinnovazione.it, roel.evens@setac.org and rebecca.bundschuh@setac.org

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