I had the opportunity to spend a week at RIVM as part of a month-long hybrid secondment in June 2023. Working with Leo Postuma and Colleagues. The main goal of the secondment was to explore whether applying more ecological context to traditional SSDs could offer insights into chemical effects on ecological functions - building on the work of Susan Oginah, ESR 15, who visited RIVM last year.
Everyone I met at RIVM was so welcoming and, even in my short visit, I was able to engage in some really interesting discussions about chemical risk assessment from a policy perspective. Lunch time discussions included history lessons on the derivation of risk criteria, discussions about risk vs a hazard-based approaches, and managing trade-offs between stakeholders. As a student, this was an opportunity to gain insight into how research is used to inform policy and I was able to look at my own work from a different angle.
Alongside a very productive and insightful work week, my hosts ensured that I had a fun time outside of work hours. On the weekend, Leo and I visited a medieval castle, Loevestein, known for being the place where, in 1619, Dutch political figure, Hugo de Groot, was imprisoned for opposing the particular religious ideologies of the government of the time.
I also had the pleasure of joining the department day out to Pampus, a fortress Island in Lake Ijselmeer. The island tour turned into an escape room activity where we needed to earn our freedom from the island. A great way to get to know colleagues at RIVM but also learn some more about Dutch history!
I want to thank my Hosts Leo Postuma, and his team Jaap Slootweg, Elmer Swart, and Matthias Hof and the team at RIVM for a wonderful stay in a relaxed and creative environment. It was a delight to join them, even for a short time, and lessons learned will stay with me throughout my career.