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CEFIC Ecotoxicology Research Grant
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€ 100.000 Award for Ecotoxicology Research


The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), in conjunction with SETAC Europe, the Association of European Toxicologists and European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX) and the International Society of Exposure Sciences (ISES) is presenting the Long-Range Research Innovative Science Award (LRI Award). The € 100.000 prize aims to promote promising new research of mammalian and environmental toxicology, with a specific focus on the improved alignment of the Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) concept in toxicology with the needs of risk assessment.

There is little doubt that the AOP concept has had a positive impact on mammalian and environmental toxicology. Benefits thus far have included a clearer articulation of modes of action, and the identification of novel approaches to hazard identification. The AOP concept framework provides for data interpretation and certainly enables utilisation of data gained from new approach methods (NAM).

However, if the value of AOPs is going to be realised fully then there is a requirement that they are better aligned with the needs of risk assessment. For this purpose AOPs should reflect dose metrics (quantitative AOPs), particularly in the contexts of threshold levels required for progression along the pathway, i.e. within the individual key event relationships. Moreover, biological pathways, including those resulting in adverse health effects, are not linear or unidirectional and are subject to control by inherent regulatory mechanisms. AOPs should ideally accommodate this complexity, and the evolution of AOP networks with inter-connecting pathway maps is already thought to be the basis for chemical safety-assessment in the future. Yet, few of these networks fed by quantitative AOPs are currently available.

The above are just some examples of how the future trajectory of AOPs might better serve the needs of risk assessment. The challenge now is to develop a discrete research programme that will facilitate AOP further development for quantitative risk assessment purposes.

We are, therefore seeking research proposals focused on the development of new approaches that, by enhancing the applicability of the AOP concept, will improve risk assessment of chemicals at relevant dose/exposure levels.

The objective of this LRI Award is to stimulate innovative research, ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and new approaches which will advance the development and application of new and existing approaches in the assessment of chemical safety.


Applications for the LRI Award are now open until 18 March 2018. Read more:


Previous award winners

  • 2017: Dr. Spyros Karakitsios (University of Thessaloniki, GR). 
  • 2016: Wibke Busch (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research -  UFZ, Germany). Applying “omics” techniques as well as bioinformatics and modelling approaches she investigates molecular kinetic and dynamic processes and develops strategies for mode-of-action-based hazard assessment.
  • 2015: Alice Limonciel (Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria) winning research proposal is entitled “Establishment of thresholds of activation of stress responses pathways and ligand-activated receptors for chemical classification” and will investigate cellular responses to the acceleration of chronic kidney disease progression due to chemical exposure.
  • 2014: Alexandra Antunes (Centro de Química Estrutural from the Instituto Superior Técnico (CQE-IST), Portugal) with the topic “Covalent Modification of Histones by Carcinogens: a novel proteomic approach toward the assessment of chemically-induced cancers – CarcHistonOmic”.
  • 2013: Sabine A.S. Langie (Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), Belgium) with a proposal on the topic “Environmental programming of respiratory allergy in childhood: the applicability of saliva to study the effect of environmental exposures on DNA methylation”.
  • 2012: Andreas Bender (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom). In his work, he is involved with the integration and analysis of chemical and biological data, aimed at understanding phenotypic compound action (such as cellular readouts, and also organism-level effects) on a mechanistic level, ranging from compound efficacy to toxicity.
  • 2011: Thomas G. Preuss (RWTH Aachen University) with his research proposal “Improving mechanistic understanding of population recovery for aquatic macroinvertebrates”. 
  • 2010: Juana Maria Delgado Saborit (Birmingham University, United Kingdom) with her research proposal on “In quest of new fingerprints of exposure to VOC from consumer products”. 
  • 2009: Hector Keun (Imperial College, United Kingdom) with his research proposal on “Using Metabonomic biomarkers to bridge the gap between environmental exposure and human disease”. 
  • 2008: Emma Tylor (MRC Toxicology Unit, Leicester University) with her research proposal on transgenerational effects. The project titled ‘Mechanistically anchored testing for male epigenetic transgenerational chemical toxicity using in vivo and in vitro stem cell based systems’ will enable further robust assessment on environmental effects potentially inherited from one generation to the next.
  • 2007: Roman Ashauer (EAWAG, Switzerland) with his research proposal entitled "Improving the definition of water quality criteria: linking organism recovery times to mechanism of action and acute-to-chronic ratios"
  • 2006: Ellen Fritsche (Einrichten-Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany) with her Research proposal entitled "Validation of a human in vitro model for testing developmental neurotoxicity". 
  • 2005: Paul J. van den Brink (Alterra, Netherlands) with his research proposal entitled "Predicting the response of aquatic invertebrates to chemical stress using species traits and stressor mode of action". 


More information can be found at