General Meeting in Amsterdam: scientists and stakeholders come face to face

28/10/2022

The second EUROqCHARM annual meeting was held in Amsterdam on the 15th of September. This was the first occasion for partners and stakeholders to physically meet and discuss the project’s progress and outcomes so far.

After the welcome and introduction by Bert van Vabel (NIVA), the importance of dissemination and knowledge transfer was presented by Vilde Sørnes Solbakken (SALT). EUROqCHARM‘s website appears to be well visited, but mostly from the partner countries in Western Europe, where the information of EUROqCHARM is distributed through the partners’ exiting networks. EUROqCHARM’s newsletter is highly appreciated, but several stakeholders present at the meeting also highlighted the importance of Twitter and Linkedin in order to stay up to date with project progress. Results from EUROqCHARM work package 1 (Screening and analysis of methods) and work package 2 (method validation) are expected to be soon disseminated through these channels as well.

After this plenary, scientists joined break-out groups per work package. WP1 discussed upcoming publication of the results and the concept of technical readiness applied to the different protocols and methods for plastics in environmental samples. WP2 discussed the results and outcome of the Interlaboratory comparison study (link to next article) workshop, while WP3 and WP4 discussed the uptake of the results from WP1 and WP2.

Subsequently, the progress within the project were presented in greater detail:

A. Tasks covering analytical methods for sediments, water, biota, and air
B. Results from the microplastics workshop , that showed that there is still a lot of (harmonization) work to be done
C. The work ahead of implementing harmonization in line with on-going ISO/CEN activities, EU directives including the MSFD, and data reporting and usage.
D. Capacity building activities, including a hands-on training workshop focusing on the Black Sea.

The annual meeting ended with stakeholder presentations of Dr. Andrea Giovannozzi (Italian National Institute of Metrology Research) on the new EUROMET Plastic Trace project, of Dr. Wesem Alwan (Agilent Technologies) on LDIR as a technology for microplastic analysis, of Dr. Dominic Roberts (ThermoFisher) on thermo based GC/MS technology for microplastic analysis, and of Dr. Maria Belen Alfonso (Kyushu University) on relevant activities coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan.

The stakeholder presentations illustrated the intensity of stakeholder engagement within EUROqCHARM, and meeting physically was a great opportunity to strengthen cooperation and open network participation to both partners and stakeholders. The annual meeting presentations will be made available as soon as possible through the new “Plastic pollution assessment and monitoring – harmonization and standardization of methods- EUROqCHARM” community on Zenodo.