The University of Eastern Finland is one of the 17 international university partners taking part in the International Institute of Environmental Sciences (IIES), initiated in 2015 at Trent University, Canada, where the 1st Annual IIES Scientific Workshop was held. The vision of the institute is to become a global leader in the development of research and policy for the management of environmental issues having international dimensions, and it brings together world class research scientists and policy analysts from institutions from around the globe to work collaboratively, sharing expertise, facilities and research programs. The 2nd annual scientific workshop of IIES was held at the University of Eastern Finland, in Kuopio, August 21-24. Altogether 74 scientists from seven different countries took part on this workshop, each one presenting scientific work, new methods or ideas to the international audience of environmental scientists.
Our research group of aquatic ecotoxicology attended the workshop with four top-quality researchers and three oral presentations about relevant ongoing research questions and projects: effects of metal mining on fresh water ecosystems, bioaccumulation of PCBs in fresh water mussels and fish, and sediment amendments and remediation of aquatic systems. The actual workshop days consisted of oral presentations in an auditorium, and poster presentations during the coffee and lunch breaks. Altogether 32 oral presentations were heard, added with 14 poster presentations at the poster corner.
Scientific meetings, conferences and workshops are not only about pure research, but also include lots of networking, different cultural and social activities where students meet senior scientists, European meets Asian and American, and academia meets policy makers. The days in scientific meetings can sometimes be very long, no matter how interesting they are. Social activities and get-togethers make an important part of every scientific meeting, and this workshop was not an exception to this. Before the first actual workshop day, the participants of the workshop got together in a dinner hall of the hotel to get to know each other and share ideas and experiences. Some had been in Finland several times before, but many were here for the first time in their life. Some had travelled for a whole day and night from a distant country, while the others came from a city nearby taking just a-2-hour-long bus ride to arrive. On the second evening of the workshop the city of Kuopio arranged a reception at the city hall for the workshop audience – good food, quality wine and good company, what else can you except from a night like this? The third day’s evening culminated in a 3-course dinner at the Puijo Tower Restaurant, where we could see the beautiful sunset over the Finnish lake scenery and the city of Kuopio at the other side. We also got to visit the Puijo Tower FMI/UEF/ICOS measurement station at the top floor of the tower.
The 4th day was for the last presentations and general discussion about the future plans for IIES. During the meeting we also had a possibility to visit UEF/ILMARI aerosol physics, chemistry and toxicology research unit and UEF/Savonia University of applied sciences water laboratory at Kuopio Science Park. Long days, hard work, but also fruitful discussions and new contacts for future research.
Those who are interested can read more about IIES here:
The 3rd Annual IIES Scientific Workshop will be held in China in August 2017, hopefully with a growing number of participants and research topics on environmental sciences.
Text by: Kaisa Figueiredo
Photos by: Yu Zhang/Timo Kumlin, Kaisa Figueiredo, Kristiina Väänänen