Human wellbeing and economic prosperity strictly depend on the sustainable use of ecosystems. Societal expectations for continuation of the progress are increasing, which inevitably brings the increase of the use of chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, fuel, etc.) and introduction of novel compounds and materials. However, the use of sustainable technologies needs to be characterized not only in terms of benefits but also potential harmful effects to both human and ecosystems. To halt the loss of biodiversity, degradation of ecosystem services and to restore biodiversity, it is crucial to incorporate ecosystem service thinking and valuation of socio-economic costs associated with ecosystem service damage into regulatory policy and decision making.

Aligning chemical risk assessment to the context of ecosystem services thinking requires establishment of protection goals and approaches for translating ecotoxicological effects into risks for ecosystem service delivery. Framing the risk assessment in terms of ecosystem services enables the focus to be placed on those ecotoxicological effects that need to be prevented to maintain service delivery, thereby connecting service delivery and risk assessment. PRORISK brings an extra added value by proposing unique integrative training on recent and innovative concepts in Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA), thus promoting a paradigm shift from an apical endpoint-focused animal-intensive (eco)toxicity testing to a pathway-oriented approach in an ecosystem services-driven chemical risk assessment.

Research objectives

Quantify exposure and chemical-biological interactions and consequent effects, including external exposure concentrations, internal body concentration and their development with time – toxicokinetics.

Develop and expand AOPs and their cross-species extrapolations for a set of prioritized key mechanisms, ecologically relevant combinations of chemical and non-chemical stressors, and representative organisms.

Propose a holistic framework linking concepts of AOPs and ecosystem services by using ecological modelling, trait-based approaches and ecological production functions to translate effects on service providing units to effects on ecosystem service provision.

Implement the novel framework within the case studies - risk assessment, ecotoxicological damage modelling and socio-economic assessment.

The research objectives are addressed in 4 scientific Work Packages.