ATC4 consisted of three scientific courses:
- SC8 - Comprehensive exosystem services training
- SC9 - Tools for socioeconomic analysis of ecosystem service impacts
- SC10 - Regulatory perspectives: government and industry
In addition to the scientific courses, case studies and Master class lecture were planned for the PRORISK students (ESRs) and partners. ATC4 was following SETAC European meeting. Where most of ESRs presented their work.
As the SETAC conference drew to a close, the ESRs and tutors prepared for the 4th Advanced training course. All ESR were excited to finally meet everyone in person for the first time. The meeting was kicked off with a dinner and a fantastic opportunity for the ESRs and tutors to meet informally and get to know each other.
The first day of the training was facilitated by Sabine Apitz and Lorraine Maltby, with an introduction to ecosystem services and the ecosystem services approach to risk assessment, focusing on the benefits and challenges of using an ecosystem services approach in environmental decision-making and the challenge of assessing chemical risk for ecosystem services-based Specific Protection Goals (SPGs). ESRs then had the opportunity to attend a Master class lecture given by Karin Nienstadt from the European Commission, DG SANTE. Karin presented the role of ecosystem services and protection goals in ERA from a regulatory and policy-making perspective. With regulatory environmental risk assessment moving towards a more holistic, ecosystem and ecosystem services-based approach, Karin’s Master Class gave the ESRs a sense of how their work could contribute to the paradigm shift of chemical regulation in Europe.
In the afternoon, ESRs continued to work on the project case studies that were first introduced at the ATC 3 in Brno in November 2021. Here, ESRs were able to see how their respective projects altogether enable the linking between the effects of chemicals on sub-organismal processes, ecosystem functioning, and the associated services. The integrative workshop aimed to shape a future guidance document with study cases implementing ecosystem services in a conceptual risk assessment framework in the soil and aquatic environment.
On Saturday, Matty Berg from VU gave an introduction to traits-based approaches in risk assessment, using response-effect trait framework. ESRs learned that traits (measured under standardized conditions) can be used to predict biota and ecosystem responses to environmental change. ESRs also had an opportunity to continue working on how individual PRORISK projects contribute to the PRORISK case studies.
On Saturday afternoon Roy Brouwer, Radka Vokurkova, and Radka Prichystalova gave a good introduction on how economical values can be applied to biological eco/system and how they could support scientific concepts for decision making. With the majority of the ESRs coming from a background in natural science, the economists’ approach to chemical pollution encouraged the ESRs to consider not only the ecological consequences of chemical pollution but also the complex sociological and economic impacts.
After the interesting lectures on Saturday, ESRs, supervisors and collaborators had the opportunity to take a boat trip to visit Copenhagen canal with a starting point at the colourful Nyhavn. This was an opportunity to learn more about the history of Copenhagen.
On Sunday, unfortunately, the PRORISK team could not escape the ever-present COVID. With a few of our group in isolation, the course on government and industry perspective in chemical regulation switched to a hybrid lecture. Despite the change of plans, the lectures from Leo Posthuma and Jörg Römbke gave the ESRs a unique insight into the field of regulatory risk assessment; the evolution of the field, from retrospective to prospective approaches, and an outline of future perspectives. Particularly, ESR and lecturers discussed where we might identify potential tradeoffs between environmental risk assessment goals and sustainable development goals."