20 November 2019, Brussels – Dr Karolina Nowak, Researcher in the Division of Geobiotechnology in the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, was awarded the €100,000 LRI Innovative Science Award, one of Europe’s largest research grants for early career scientists, during the award ceremony of the 21st Annual Cefic Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI) Workshop in Brussels.
Dr Nowak’s winning research aims at developing a fast and cost-efficient screening method for testing the persistence of chemicals in complex environments. The chemical is persistent when the mineralisation is low and the amount of non-extractable residues (NERs) is high. NERs can be either toxic chemicals or harmless biomass of bacteria, and both of them bind to soil or aquatic sediment. To this day, it is difficult to distinguish them applying current analytical methods, impeding regulatory approval of chemicals.
Dr Nowak says: “Chemicals need to be evaluated for their persistence in water and soil as part of the regulatory scrutiny. This new approach will greatly support the chemical industry and the authorities responsible for the approval of chemicals. It will simplify the analytics of NERs and improve environmental risk assessement”.
With the Cefic-LRI Award this project can move from being a proposal to being implemented and provide an analytical method that could help reach ECHA regulatory requirements in NER characterisation.
Read more about Dr Nowak’s proposal here.