SCIENTIFIC MEETINGS AND WORKSHOPS
Early in the network programme a scientific "kick-off" meeting will be held to stimulate research cooperation between researchers and students. A similar final meeting will be held at the end of the funding period. The two meetings will be specialized research symposia in which research primarily undertaken by network partners will be presented. Travel grants will be used to invite external speakers. In conjunction with the symposium we will stage workshops and courses providing a forum for both research communication and training for research students. We will organize three half-day workshops on (a) analytical methodology for perfluorinated compounds, (b) sources, fate and exposure of perfluorinated compounds and (c) toxicokinetics and effects of perfluorinated compounds. The network coordinator recently gained experience in organizing and holding similar one-day international workshops on these subjects at the ICCE 2009 STOCKHOLM: 12th EuCheMS International Conference on Chemistry & the Environment [ICCE;14-17 Jun 2009], which were highly successful. The workshops at the kick-off meeting will focus on identifying areas for research cooperation, whereas the workshops at the end of the funding period will report successful collaborations and determine how cooperation can continue beyond the funding period. The workshop on analytical methodology for perfluorinated compounds will identify opportunities for method comparison exercises. Between the two meetings the Nordic Environmental Chemistry Conference will also be exploited as a successful current forum for presenting research by Nordic scientists and also for Coordinating Group meetings.
A key activity of the proposed network is directed to train graduate students and researchers (at all levels) in complementary research methods not available to them at their institution through exchange grants. The goal of making these study visits is primarily to transfer knowledge between network partners, but it is also hoped that it will stimulate joint research applications (e.g. joint European or international projects) that make use of complementary research methods. All exchange grants must be applied for in advance and approved by the network's Coordinating Group. A call for applications for exchange grants will be made semi-annually (twice a year) during each operating year of the network. Applications will include a motivation for funding and a budget.
THE COORDINATING GROUP
The Coordinating Group will undertake all management duties for the network and will comprise one representative from each of the Nordic countries involved, the Network Coordinator (who will act as the Chair of the Steering Committee), the Equal Opportunities Officer, the Communication's Officer and two Ph.D. student representatives. The Coordinating Group will decide which exchange grants should be approved based on scientific merit, budget and objectives of the network.
COMMUNICATION AND WEBSITE
A website will be created early in the programme period in order to - disseminate relevant information to project participants and interested parties outside of the network, - announce decisions on awards of exchange grants,
- announce the programme for the symposium, workshops and courses.
- post relevant publications and documents.
The Coordinating Group will also use all available means (e.g. through publications and conferences) to increase awareness of research undertaken within the network to the scientific community, regulatory and industry stakeholders as well as amongst the general public.
We will develop two new graduate level courses focusing on PFCs. The courses will be multidisciplinary exploiting the wide range of expertise available in the proposed network. Course #1 will train students in the following elements; manufacturer, uses, sources, physical-chemical properties, fate and transport, bioaccumulation, modelling, human exposure, eco- and mammalian toxicology and toxicokinetics. Innovative internet-based teaching methods will be employed so that the courses can be taught to a wide range of students throughout the Nordic countries. Course #2 will be a project-based course. Students will undertake a small original research project on PFCs and present the work progress in three reports (planning, progress and
final). Research students will undertake research in a field outside but complementary to their own to learn new skills and to encourage collaboration. The project-based course could be undertaken in conjunction with an exchange grant to another network member. The planned courses will be a good basis for recruiting both doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers.We will list relevant courses available at partner organizations on the network's webpage to offer more training opportunities. For example, students may wish to take courses in Advanced Mass Spectrometry or Fate and Exposure Modelling, which may not be available at their host institution but offer added value to their training.