22 Feb 2024

Unlocking the Excitement: A Sneak Peek into the SETAC Europe 34th Annual Meeting

Jose Julio Ortega Calvo, SETAC Europe 2024 Programme Committee Chair and Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and Kelly Derom, SETAC Europe

With only three months ahead, the countdown for the SETAC Europe 34th Annual Meeting has begun! Set against the enchanting backdrop of Seville, Spain, and having received a record number of abstracts, the meeting promises to become SETAC's most monumental gathering of scientific exchange and collaboration yet. Registration is in full swing, and the early bird deadline is approaching soon. Don't miss the opportunity to experience the harmonious fusion of cutting-edge environmental science and flamenco-flavored culture, and register by 14 March.

The preliminary day-to-day overview is available and can be browsed on the virtual meeting platform. Tap into the rhythms of research in Seville, and delve into scientific sessions, posters, plenaries, training courses, networking events and more. As each day will give you an abundance of choices, allow us to ready your senses and curate a sneak peek of what to look forward to.

The heart of the meeting traditionally beats with its scientific program, inspired by the overarching theme of “Science-Based Solutions in Times of Crisis: Integrating Science and Policy for Environmental Challenges." Participants can expect more than 446 oral presentations across 10 parallel sessions and approximately 2,500 posters, spanning 84 session topics, strategically organized into seven distinct tracks. 

Among all these topics, seven special sessions are poised to delve into pressing topics of high societal importance and prepare for thought-provoking discussions. Session topics include several science and policy issues in connection with the European Green Deal’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (planned on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), the United Nations Environment Programme for sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution (Monday), and the consequences of military chemical pollution (Tuesday). This last session is organized in partnership with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Division VI – Chemistry and Environment and the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Hague, the Netherlands. Two other scientifically focused special sessions will cover the low-level, long-term chemical exposure in new ecotoxicological endpoints (Tuesday) and the mechanistic effect modeling in environmental risk assessment (Thursday). We are sure that the special sessions promise to provoke enticing discussions.

Furthermore, a killer line-up of plenaries will stimulate the blood flow as esteemed experts address pressing issues related to the theme. Starting the meeting on Sunday, Sergi Sabater, Catalan Institute for Water Research, will talk about water scarcity, extreme events and chemical impacts on aquatic ecosystems. During Monday’s plenary, Marlene Ågerstrand, Stockholm University, will focus on science-policy interactions in risk assessment and management of chemicals. On Wednesday, Maura Hiney, University College, Dublin, will discuss how research integrity policy initiatives can enhance research disciplines and strengthen research culture.

On Tuesday, the plenary time slot will be replaced by the ultimate scientific storytelling showdown, the SETAC Science Slam! The returning event will feature five contestants who will compete against each other by presenting their research in an understanding yet entertaining way. Your participation is crucial as your vote will decide the winner of the show and the bearer of the "SETAC Science Slam Champion of 2024" title. The contestants are eager to showcase their best performance. Get ready to be entertained and amazed by:

  • Thomas Stanton: We Need to Talk About Fashion’s ‘Natural’ Plastic Alternatives
  • Anna Schwarz: Microplastic Impact in Life Cycle Assessment   
  • Eirini Andreasidou: Tomatoes of the Shire: A Fellowship's Quest through the Soil-Plant Continuum
  • Lachlan Chadwick: Non-Target Analysis, I’ll Drink to That
  • Simon Perera del Rosario: Could Computers Be the New Toxicologists?

But the excitement doesn’t end there. A variety of training courses traditionally dazzle participants on Sunday, and this year is no different. This year's courses cover topics including chemical properties, microplastics, endocrine activity, wildlife toxicology studies and statistical methods. We highly recommend signing up for a course in advance to ensure it goes ahead.

Lastly, our parallel events make for an enriching conference experience for young and old. Whether you plan on busting a move at the Student Party, enjoying a drink at the Wednesday Conference Dinner, or mingling with peers at any of the other parallel activities, there are plenty of opportunities to network and relax.

At the local level, we will endeavour to bridge SETAC science and the general public through a special city event. It will be held at the headquarters of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Casa de la Ciencia on Sunday afternoon, before the kick-off opening ceremony. Experts will cover the following topics:

  • Joan Grimalt, CSIC: Marine pollution and international actions
  • Soledad Muniategui, La Coruña University: Microplastics in the environment
  • Juan Pascual, BASF: Plant protection products in agriculture

The city event will be in Spanish, open to anyone, and live-streamed and recorded by CSIC.

With an abundance of opportunities awaiting, make sure to secure your spot by 14 March to benefit from reduced early bird rates. If you wish to still be part of the program, submit a late-breaking science abstract by 24 April, or sooner, as poster exhibition space is limited. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this dynamic scientific community, and immerse yourself in a whirlwind of knowledge exchange.

Author's contact: [email protected]