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Dr Aimee Murray (Research Fellow – University of Exeter Medical School) won the SETAC UK competition for a funded opportunity to attend the OECD meeting in Paris in October 2018 and she's written a blog about her experience. SETAC UK received a large number of applications to attend this meeting and thanks to all those Early Career Researchers who applied and supported our initiative - we look forward to offering other opportunities like this in the future. 

Aimee's Blog ...

In October 2018, I successful won a competitive application process to attend the OECD’s Validation Management Group for Ecotoxicity (VMG-Eco) organised by the Department for Environment, Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Defra) and funded by Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) UK.


The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) does what it says on the tin. It brings together its 36 member countries to collaborate towards solutions for common problems, for the benefit of society and the environment. A key area within their Environment Directorate is ‘Chemical safety and biosafety’, which is responsible for the development and approval of test guidelines. These internationally ratified and adopted documents are used by regulators, academia and industry for performing environmental and human health risk assessment of chemicals.


I’m an independent, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Industrial Innovation Fellow, based at the University of Exeter (Cornwall campus). I’m in the process of developing a novel assay which could be used to determine concentrations of antibiotics which select for antimicrobial resistance, which I hope might one day become an OECD approved test guideline. So you can see why this opportunity was particularly appealing.


I was prepped and mentored for the event by Dr Christopher Green, the National Co-ordinator for Test Guidelines from Defra. Mainly this involved familiarising myself with the documents for the packed agenda, which spanned all stages of test guideline development, validation and approval. We formed the UK delegation at the meeting alongside Dr Ioanna Katsiadaki from CEFAS, an endocrine disruption and fish expert.


The day before the meeting, I began my tedious travel from the deepest, darkest corners of west Cornwall. I arrived in central Paris some 8 hours later, just in time for a cheeky snap with the Eiffel Tower before meeting up for dinner.


The OECD, I have learned from other academics, is considered a somewhat impenetrable fortress. The security pass, body scan and bag scan required for entry did not do much to dispel this myth, but certainly made for a more interesting morning than my usual trek to the lab. The headquarters, the Châteaux de la Muette, is an juxtaposition of modern, subterreanan offices and meeting spaces; while the Châteaux itself is an elegant and beautiful building that easily speaks of the strong economic growth during ‘Les Années Folles’ (the ‘crazy years’, a.k.a. the ‘Roaring’ or ‘Golden Age’ twenties). Unusually (but luckily for me), the meeting was held in the latter, so I can claim the ‘full’ experience.


Professor Peter Matthiesen of the UK and Professor Taisen Iguchi of Japan co-chaired the meeting. Completely new test guidelines in the first stages of data collection were introduced, and support garnered for submission of Standard Protocol Submission Forms (the first step in test guideline development). Progress reports on international validation studies of new test methods were presented. Revisions of old test guidelines were discussed. My personal favourite was the transgenic Japanese medaka, where the kidneys fluoresce in the presence of endocrine active chemicals capable of interfering with the androgen receptor. Witnessing the translation of cutting edge science into real-world applications was a real privilege.


It was very valuable for me, given my current research, to learn the procedure for developing a test guideline. The more subtle aspects, such as the importance of strong relationships with the other member countries; the very rigorous, technical detail against which guidelines would be assessed; and an impression of the common sticking points will be very useful when developing my own assay. That, and patience. It’s no mean feat to have a test developed and validated - but then finally approved by all 36 member countries. On a more personal note, I also learnt that Côtes du Rhône in Paris is much nicer than Côtes du Rhône in England, and that selfie sticks can be quite ostentatious and therefore incompatible with the delicate English sensibility of, at least this, lone traveller.


My thanks go to SETAC UK and Defra for this unique professional development opportunity, and also especially to Chris and Ioanna for guiding me through the experience.

SETAC UK & Italian Branch Collaberative Student Event

February 01, 2018

The SETAC UK Student Council and Italian Branch would like to invite you to a free event during the SETAC Europe Rome meeting in May. This is the first collaborative activity between the two regional branches and we hope you will join us on the 15th May at 14:00 until 16:00 in meeting room 10.  The programme includes a mock research proposal writing activity and networking opportunities. There will also be an opportunity to sign up to become a SETAC UK Student Council Member. Not going to Rome? You can also sign up to join the Student Council by emailing setacukbranch@gmail.com or find out additional information about joining the Student Council by clicking the link below or by emailing us.

Dr Christopher Green Joins the SETAC UK Council

November 21, 2017

SETAC UK are very pleased to announce that Christopher Green (DEFRA) has become a council member. Chris is part of Defra’s International Chemicals Team at Defra where he is involved in chemicals policy and engagement with the OECD Test Guidelines Programme for the development of ecotoxicity tests for chemical hazard assessment. Welcome Chris!

wca Sponsors SETAC UK 2017 Annual Meeting

July 27, 2017

wca has kindly provided sponsorship for the 2017 SETAC UK Annual Meeting. wca also sponsored our 2016 Student Meeting so the SETAC UK Council and Student Council would like to thank them so much for their continued support.

Royal Society Sponsors the SETAC UK 2017 Annual Meeting

July 27, 2017

SETAC UK is please to announce that the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts will be providing prizes at the SETAC UK 2017 Annual Meeting on the 21st September at the Oxford Union. 

Launch of SETAC UK Mentorship Scheme

July 23, 2017

SETAC UK is delighted to announce the launch of our mentorship scheme for students and recent graduates. Mentees can select a professional or peer mentoring package depending on their needs. Both schemes are informal, mentee-led and have clear expectations for both the mentor and mentee. If you would like additional information about the mentorship scheme or would like to become a mentor or mentee please contacts us at setacukbranch@gmail.com or click on the button below.

SETAC UK Student Council Election

July 19, 2017

SETAC UK Student Council has elected their 2017-18 President. Congratulations are due to Stefan Schade (University of Birmingham) who was unanimously elected by the Student Council at this weeks election. Stefan who is currently the SETAC UK Student Council Secretary will take up his tenure on the 21st September at the closing ceremony of the SETAC UK Annual Meeting at the Oxford Union.  SETAC UK President Dr Michelle Bloor said 'over the past twelve months Stefan has been an extremely active member of the Student Council in his role as Secretary. When I established the Student Council in 2016, Stefan's diligence and enthusiasm made him the ideal choice as Council Secretary. Along with Katherine Lees (the current SETAC UK Student Council President) they have taken my aspiration of developing a Student Council and turned it into a reality.  During its first year, the Student Council has grown from strength to strength creating its own identity through a social media logo competition and developing activities for the annual meeting. I'm delighted that Stefan will be the next SETAC UK Student Council President and I wish him every success in the role'. 

Dr Liz Nicol Joins SETAC UK Council

July 06, 2017

A warm welcome to Liz Nicol's who has become a SETAC UK council member. Liz is a Senior Chemical Policy Consultant at Amec Foster Wheeler and is responsible for evaluating the implications of changing legislation or regulation of chemicals at the UK and EU level. SETAC UK looks forward to working with you Liz!

Government Representatives Wanted!

June 27, 2017

SETAC UK are actively seeking Government representatives to join the council. We currently have two Government vacancies and anyone interested in filling these positions should send a CV and supportive statement to SETAC UK President Dr Michelle Bloor (setacukbranch@gmail.com).  

Dr Laura Langan Joins the SETAC UK Council

June 13, 2017

SETAC UK are very pleased to announce that Laura Langan (University of Plymouth) has become a council member. Laura is already a SETAC Europe Membership and Public Relations Committee member and is an interested participant in numerous European interest groups. Welcome Laura!

Simone Bagnis SETAC Italian Council Member To Join SETAC UK Student Council

May 19, 2017

SETAC UK would like to welcome Simone Bagnis onto the Student Council. Simone is studying for a PhD at the University of Plymouth and is already a SETAC Italian Branch Council Member, and also part of the SETAC Rome 2018 Organising Committee (SETAC Europe's 28th Annual Meeting). SETAC UK and Italian Branch are delighted that Simone will work with both organisations and create a link that will enable cross-branch event participation and future collaborations. SETAC UK and Italian Branch are two of the five regional branches of the SETAC Europe organisation (the other three are Germany, Russia and UAE) so this cross-branch link will benefit the communication and transfer of science through the wider SETAC community.    

Winning Logo - SETAC UK Student Council Logo Competition

May 10, 2017

Entry number 3 designed by SETAC UK Student Council Member Verena Riedl has won the logo competition #findalogo. Verena's design will now become the official SETAC UK Student Council logo! Congratulations Verena and thank you to all the other competitors for entering the competition.

UK President elected onto European Council

May 09, 2017

Breaking news from SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting in Brussels #SETACBrussels.

Congratulations to SETAC UK President Michelle Bloor who was elected onto the SETAC Europe Council at today's Annual General Meeting. 

Check Out The Shortlisted SETAC UK Branch Student Council Logos - COMPETITION!

March 20, 2017

Four logos have been shortlisted - CHECK THEM OUT! These where designed by the Student Council President Katherine Lees, Student Council Secretary Stefan Schade and Council Members Siti Syuhaida Mohamed Yunus and Verena Riedl.

From the 1st April until the last day of the SETAC Europe meeting (11th May) the 4 logos will go on display on the SETAC UK
Twitter  and Facebook accounts - #findalogo.

We need
YOU to vote! The logo that receives the most social media 'likes' will win the competition and become the official SETAC UK Student Council logo.

Please vote for your favourite logo! The winning logo will be announced on the 12th May - Good luck to the competing students and their logos.

Vote For A Logo - COMPETITION!

March 01, 2017

The SETAC UK Student Council needs an official logo so today UK Branch President (Michelle Bloor) has challenged the student body to design a logo.  

Between 1st April and 11th May YOU can vote to select the winning logo, which will become the official logo for the UK Student Council.  

5 logos will be uploaded to the SETAC UK Facebook and Twitter accounts on the 1st April. Simply 'like' the one that you think should become the Student Council's official logo. The winner will be announced on the 11th May on the final day of the 2017 SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Brussels.

Watch this space to see what happens next...

SETAC UK Annual Meeting - 21st Sept at the Oxford Union, Oxford, UK

February 24, 2017

Abstract Submission and Registration is OPEN for the SETAC UK Annual Meeting at the Oxford Union on the 21st September 2017.


TSGE Forum is kindly hosting the abstract submission and registration - so these are both done through the TSGE Forum website. 

Reduced registration fees available for SETAC members! Not already a member? No problem - join here today . 

All welcome!

The event will be attended by delegates from academia, government and industry.  

We are delighted to announce the confirmed speakers for the event are:

Mark Earnshaw of The REACH Centre in Lancaster

Alistair Boxall of the University of York

Steve Norman from RidgewayEco in Didcot 

Anne Alix, current SETAC Europe Vice President and who will assume her responsibilities as the SETAC Europe President in May 2017

Submit an abstract for a Spotlight (5 minute presentation) and Poster or simply a Poster.

A limited number of £100 competitive student travel bursary awards are available (apply for these when completing the online registration form).

Two student prizes are also available: best spotlight presentation and best poster presentation. Both prizes are FREE student registration fees at SETAC Europe 2018 in Rome!!!  

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