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.
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!