From 16 to 19 May, the JRC hosted in Ispra (Italy) 101 postgraduate students and early-career scientists from 29 countries worldwide for the JRC Summer School on Alternative Approaches for Risk Assessment.
There is a longstanding tradition of hosting toxicology students from the Karolinska Institutet by the EURL ECVAM at the JRC site in Ispra. Students, their accompanying professors as well as the JRC hosts, have continued to develop the programme for their visit to the Ispra site. The training has been such a great success over the years that, following the 2016 edition, it was agreed to enlarge its scope and open it up to a broader audience with an international summer school.
In this new version, during four intensive days, around 40 speakers provided the participants of the summer school with an overview on the whole process of chemical risk assessment. Lectures spanned various sectors, such as regulatory toxicology, in vitro methods, new concepts and approaches, computational modelling applications, test method validation principles and practices, and other hot topics. Afternoons were dedicated to interactive sessions to facilitate knowledge exchange. In addition to two poster sessions, marketplaces for hands-on demonstration of various databases and tools for toxicology, World Café–type discussion sessions, as well as visits to EURL ECVAM laboratory and an AOP game were part of the programme.
During the poster sessions, participants shared and discussed their research projects which covered a wide variety of topics mostly related to non-animal approaches and 3Rs (replacement, reduction, refinement). From all the submitted poster abstracts, 20 were selected by the scientific committee for flash presentations. The poster prizes, however, were nominated by the participants themselves and were awarded to four outstanding pieces of work. The summer school ended at the JRC Ispra Visitor's Centre where the participants got information on the Joint Research Centre, career opportunities within the EU and beyond, and checked their knowledge with the JRC Science Quiz.