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Global Mercury Observation and Training Network in Support to the Minamata Convention

Project description

Training in biogeochemical mercury cycling

The 2013 Minamata Convention by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defined mercury (Hg) as a global interest and toxic metal. It’s a global pollutant broadly used in everyday life and released into the atmosphere, soil and water, affecting both human and ecosystem health. However, biogeochemical Hg cycling is complex. In this context, the EU-funded GMOS-Train project will train in mercury science according to the UNEP Minamata convention. The project will also address significant knowledge gaps on biogeochemical mercury cycling that prevent the optimisation of national environmental policy concerning mercury emissions. GMOS-Train will offer complementary training in dissemination using Open science principles, communication, exploitation, and outreach to transform science achievements into effective policymaking.


With the signing of the UNEP Minamata Convention in 2013, governments have globally accepted that Hg is global relevance and toxic; scientific needs will therefore shift towards best implementation practices of the Convention. With most Hg emissions emanating from the energy-industrial sector this means that governments have to balance economic and environmental interests. How does one asses that balance? Biogeochemical Hg cycling is complex: superimposed on the strongly perturbed inorganic Hg cycle is the natural process of biomethylation that generates the bioaccumulating monomethyl-Hg form that we are all exposed to when we consume fish. Today, comprehensive multimedia models of the biogeochemical Hg cycle are being developed and capture this complexity to try and evaluate the effectiveness of environmental policy scenarios. For the models to work however, they must include realistic descriptions of fundamental Hg transformations and fluxes across Earth’s surface environments. Despite decades of Hg science, we still lack answers to some of the most basic questions on those fundamental Hg transformations and fluxes. The objectives of the GMOS-TRAIN network are (1) to provide urgently needed training in mercury science within the context of the UNEP Minamata convention, and (2) to bridge key knowledge gaps on biogeochemical mercury cycling that currently hamper the optimization of national environmental policy regarding mercury emissions. The process of training a pool of 15 Early Stage Researchers represents an excellent capacity building needed for the implementation of the Minamata Convention. Being trained in highly relevant research topic will enhance researchers career prospective and employability. Moreover, complimentary training in dissemination using Open science principles, communication, exploitation and outreach will enforce the transfer of science results to effective policy making.


Net EU contribution
€ 719 870,76
Jamova 39
1000 Ljubljana

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Slovenija Zahodna Slovenija Osrednjeslovenska
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (10)