Avainsana-arkisto: meeting

The 2nd IIES Graduate Students Forum at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

As a partner in the International Institute for Environmental Studies (IIES), the students of the University of Eastern Finland were given an opportunity to participate in the 2nd IIES Graduate Students Forum in Hong Kong. Our PhD student Timo participated in this forum that was held November 2-3, 2018 at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). The forum was conveniently scheduled right after the 11th Sino-French International Workshop on Contaminated Soil Remediation in Guangzhou, where Timo and another PhD student in our group, Bhabhishya participated at the end of October.

The topic of the Graduate Student Forum was water and soil contamination and remediation. For two days, graduate students from all over the world presented their research. Talks and discussions were also organized on the topics of writing a good scientific paper, how to get along with one’s supervisor and how to manage time during graduate studies and research.

Timo after receiving an award for his presentation performance

Timo represented our Ecotox group at the forum and gave a talk about his research topic “Environmental risks of chemicals in effluents discharged from municipal wastewater treatment plants”. Students who performed well in the forum were given awards for different achievements and Timo was awarded for his presentation skills in the forum!

The HKUST campus provided an outstanding arena for the forum. Located at Clear Water Bay, the surrounding landscape is one of the most beautiful in all of Hong Kong. The facilities at the university were also excellent. It is already a great privilege to get to participate to activities like the Graduate Student Forum but to have this kind of event in such an excellent location is truly a dream come true.

HKUST campus is a sight to behold

Timo was extremely happy with the experience of participating to the forum. Getting to know new people in our field, hearing different views from students around the world on graduate studies and getting to listen to the diversity of student presentation subjects, what more can a graduate student hope for! Our Ecotox group has been involved in many IIES activities before and Timo certainly hopes that more opportunities like this will arise in the future.

Text and photos: Timo Ilo

Surviving conference in record-breaking heat – even a panda falls into trance!

In August last year we wrote a blog post about the 2nd IIES work-shop that took place in Kuopio, Finland. To refresh your memory, you can click yourself to the post HERE.

This year was the 3rd year that this kind of a conference is held, and the location changed from chilly Kuopio in Finland to super-hot Shanghai in China. Yes, truly overheated…. during the conference week, we experienced the hottest day in Shanghai in its recorded history, which is 145 years.

The conference was held at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which everyone knows for its Shanghai list of top universities in the world. SJTU is the university that originally compiled and issued the list in 2003, which is not known as renowned Academic Ranking of World Universities, ARWU, being among the most prestigious ones globally. More than 1,200 universities from around the world are evaluated in ARWU ranking. The criteria include, among other things, Nobel and Fields prizes, articles published in Nature and Science, and citations. In the latest 2017 ARWU the University of Helsinki was ranked 56th, being the leader among the Finnish universities. The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) maintained its position and was ranked among the leading 301–400 universities in the world, thus being ranked once again as the second best Finnish university. Aalto University, the University of Oulu and the University of Turku were ranked in the rank range 401–500. Congratulations! Like in the previous years, the top of Shanghai Ranking comprises Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Cambridge, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT. Here is more information about The Shanghai Ranking.

The locations of top 100 universities in the world, by www.shanghairanking.com.

Okay, back to the IIES annual workshop. This year the 3rd Annual IIES Science and Policy Workshop was held simultaneously with International Conference on Low Carbon Development—Responding Post-Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Energy Transmission and Innovation which was also being sponsored by the IIES, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University with the GlobalTech Alliance. The two meetings were held simultaneously and offered participants the opportunity to meet colleagues from a wider range of institutions and to participate in both meetings. The participants came from Asia (mostly China, naturally), Europe and North America. There were sessions on atmospheric pollution – health Interactions, collaborative projects – ongoing or prospective, green technology, low carbon economies – technology and policy, soil resources – contamination and remediation, water resources – contamination and remediation. The workshop lasted four days and consisted of interesting presentations, fruitful discussions, conference dinners and informal get-togethers. IIES welcomes everyone to join the workshop next year – although the location remains unknown yet. You can read more about IIES.

Kaisa giving her presentation at IIES meeting in Shanghai.

The Finnish delegation representing UEF this year at the workshop included four PhD students and three senior researchers complemented with two professors. Two researchers from the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) added their forces to the Finnish delegation. Our ecotox group sent two final stage PhD students, Kristiina and Kaisa, to the venue with great success! They both had interesting oral presentation regarding their own research areas: Kristiina about metals in environments, and Kaisa about PCBs in aquatic food webs. Both of them had obviously learned the lesson HERE ) and managed to speak and discuss their topics and co-operate with others with great success. IIES is now starting a post-doc program together with Nanjing University, and who knows, maybe this would be a great possibility in the future also for our soon-to-be PhDs at ecotox research group!

Kristiina visiting the world 2nd tallest building, Shanghai Tower.

Photos and text by Kaisa Figueiredo

SETAC Europe annual meeting in Nantes, France

It’s again the time of the year, when at least part of our group goes to the SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) Europe meeting. This time it was two of us (me and Inna), who decided to go. I love these conferences – they are a combination of travelling, meeting new people, getting brilliant (and not-so-brilliant) research ideas and learning new things. The days in the meetings are long and sometimes a bit overwhelming, you get a great chance to be part of a large research community.

Inna, presenting her poster in the meeting
Inna, presenting her poster in the meeting

In my opinion, SETAC provides a great opportunity for its student members to become a part of this community. In the meetings, there are several ways to smoothen your way into science community: travel grants, student mentor lunches, lunch seminars, student parties, student advisory council assemblies etc. If you are a Master or PhD student, make sure that you are a member of a professional society, it will make your academic part of life so much easier and more interesting!

As always, there are several interesting things happening simultaneously – it’s so difficult to choose from them. This year, I changed my tactics. Instead of just concentrating on metals, I was running around like crazy to learn more about environmental assessment of cosmetics and personal care products, life cycle assessment (LCA) and emerging contaminants (micro plastics!). If I would have to choose my favorites this year, they would be (1) Graham Merrington from WCA Environment, UK talking about what has happened in risk assessment within past ten years, (2) John Murphy from Queen Mary University of London, UK with an highly intriguing topic of new approaches in ecological effects of metal-contaminated sediments and  (3) Nicolas Pucheux from INERIS, France who’s presentation about implementation of TRIAD approach in ERA of an old lead mine was so interesting that I spent the whole time writing as fast as I could. They were all really inspiring and I feel I got a lot of new ideas and perspectives to think about.

Another nice thing in participating international conferences is travelling, and Nantes was great for that. You can’t go to Nantes without riding the Grand Elephant (picture below). Food was great, people were nice, buildings were pretty and the prices affordable. What’s there not to like!  Next year, SETAC Europe Annual Meeting is held in Brussels (https://www.setac.org/events/event_list.asp). And the SETAC World Congress will be at the end of this year in Orlando, Florida (https://orlando.setac.org/). Not a bad place to go in November!

The great elephant in Nantes (http://www.lesmachines-nantes.fr/)
The great elephant in Nantes (http://www.lesmachines-nantes.fr/)

Kristiina