Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

Cefic-LRI Award 2019

How to handle NERs or strongly adsorbed substances in environmental risk assessment?

Are you a rebel thinker? Do you have a good idea? Make it come alive!

The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), in conjunction with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), the Association of European Toxicologists and European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX), and the International Society of Exposure Sciences (ISES), is offering a €100.000 award to support promising new research in the field of environmental toxicology. “Non-extractable residues (NERs) or strongly absorbed substances in environmental risk assessment” is the topic of the Cefic-LRI Innovative Science Award 2019. Applications are currently closed.

One of the most abundant fate routes of chemicals in the environment is the formation of so called non-extractable residues (NERs): chemical substances that bind to terrestrial soil and aquatic sediments very strongly, and remain trapped unless an event – such as degradation – significantly changes the nature of the compound or the structure of the matrix they are bound to. There is uncertainty on whether such NERs will become available to display toxicity, and questioning about how to predict associated risks.

In 2018, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) released a Technical and Scientific Report reviewing the state-of-science on the role of NERs in degradation assessment in soil, sediment and water with suspended solids, that shall be used as background document for the persistence assessment of substances under REACH and the Biocidal Products Regulation.  The Report identifies several technical challenges and directions for future research. Therefore, Cefic-LRI is seeking research proposals focused, but not limited to, the following questions:

  • Standardisation of existing NER extraction scheme: which techniques make sense and which don’t?
  • Establishment of a link between laboratory and real-life test extraction results: what processes make NERs become environmentally relevant (e.g. desorption, bioavailability, binding strength), which metrics should be established as cut-off?
  • Can predictive computational models help elucidate the complex adsorption/desorption pathways of chemicals and the formation of biogenically sequestered NERs?
  • Do biodegradation studies and/or ecotoxicity data reflect the hypotheses and models developed on NER fate?

About the Cefic-LRI Award

The objective of this LRI Award is to stimulate innovative research, ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and new approaches which will advance the development and application of new and existing approaches in the assessment of chemical safety.

The research should be complementary to the Long-range Research Initiative’s (LRI) objectives, a chemical industry funded programme that aims at enhancing scientific knowledge to help protect human health and the environment.

The award is intended for a European-based scientist with less than ten years post-doctoral experience. Active involvement in interdisciplinary research, current academic track record, and access to appropriate networks will be considered in the selection.

The presentation of the three finalists and the selection of the winner will take place in Brussels in early June 2019.

The winning proposal of the LRI Innovative Science Award will be officially presented at the Cefic-LRI Annual Workshop on 20 November 2019. The 2019 Awardee will be expected to present the results of his/her research supported by the Award at the Cefic-LRI Annual Workshop in November 2020.

Who can apply?

European-based scientists with less than ten years post-doctoral experience. Active involvement in interdisciplinary research, current academic track record, and access to appropriate networks will be considered in the selection. There is no age limit for applicants. Previous Award winners are not eligible to apply.

How does it work?

In January every year, the topic is announced with a call for entries on the LRI website. This year, applicants must submit a 2-page proposal by March 24th, 2019. Short-listed researchers are then requested to send in a more detailed description of their work, after which the three finalists are selected to present their proposal before a jury panel in Brussels. The LRI Innovative Science Award is officially presented at the LRI Annual Workshop in November, and the Awardee is invited to present the results of the research supported by the Award at the LRI Annual Workshop the following year.

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