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Training courses on Analytical Quality Control and method validation in support to the Water Framework Directive - TAQC-WFD

Final Activity Report Summary - TAQC-WFD (Training courses on Analytical Quality Control and method validation in support to the Water Framework Directive)

The reliability and comparability of measurements is a key issue and requires not only the availability of suitable quality control (QC) tools, but also their correct implementation and use in an harmonized way both within and beyond Community level.

In 2000, the European Commission has approved the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (Directive 2000/60/EC), and subsequently funded several projects with the main objective of providing support to the successful implementation of this WFD. The success of the WFD implementation in analytical laboratories does not depend only on the improvement of the already existing laboratory staff, but also on creating a 'correct' culture in the younger generation of scientists for the appreciation and future implementation of the directive. This latter is the primary aim of the TAQC-WFD project.

The project TAQC-WFD aimed to underpin the directive and global EU Water Initiative that has a strategic importance with regard to sustainable development by addressing the development of a 'correct culture' of analytical quality in the young generation of scientists.

According to the project DoW, the TAQC-WFD series of events comprised the five training events in an harmonised way using a similar format (based on the transfer of the same, high quality knowledge established by experts of high reputation), but in different regions of Europe to allow the participation of young researchers from 41 countries of Europe and third countries (the latter mainly being non-European Mediterranean countries, Russia, Ukraine and Republic of Armenia). As a result the training event had 139 participants from 32 countries.

In addition to on-site training of young researchers, there was a practical part included in the courses, which was composed of two parts: computer-based exercises putting the theoretical knowledge gained in the lectures as preparation for the second part of the practical part, the follow-up exercises. Via the participation in one or more proficiency testing (PT) schemes and the construction and maintenance of quality control chart(s) by the participants at their home institutions the young researchers become experienced in the practical and correct implementation of QC tools in the analytical laboratory.

The five training events were organised:
- TAQC-1 in Msida (MT), 28-30 September 2006,
- TAQC-2 in Castel Gandolfo (IT), 12-14 October 2006,
TAQC-3 in Budapest (HU), 2-4 November 2006,
- TAQC-4 in Egmond aan Zee (NL), 19-21 April 2007,
- TAQC-5 in Warsaw (PL), 31 May - 2 June 2007.

The follow-up exercises were as follows:

1. The TAQC-WFD proficiency testing exercises on matrix test material relevant to the WFD
TAQC-1 - trace elements in river sediment
TAQC-2 - polyaromatic hydrocarbons in river sediment
TAQC-3 - major components in spring water.

The evaluation reports of the TAQC-WFD PTs provide a very good tool to measure the state-of-the-art performance of young researchers in Europe and its vicinity, especially in comparison with similar reports produced on the performance of routine laboratories of the filed.

2. The construction and maintenance of control chart trainees selected 1-3 analytes from the analyte list of the chosen matrix material of the proficiency testing exercises and construct control charts and maintain them for 15 weeks.

In order to utilise project savings, the consortium had proposed the organisation of the TAQC-6 event, the technical evaluation meeting of the TAQC-WFD proficiency testing exercises for the trainees who duly submitted results for the follow-up exercises. The organisation of technical evaluation meetings by PT providers is of high value in real life. The TAQC-6 event was therefore organised on 11-12 January 2008, in Rome, as was considered as the main highlight of the whole TAQC-WFD training event series.