Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - RA-COURSES (Advanced international training courses in health risk assessment)

Implementation of reliable and efficient risk assessment procedures for the exposure to various types of chemicals is of high concern in Europe today. To meet these needs and interests in EU there is an increasing need for well-educated experts in health risk assessment procedures, who can provide the European public with reliable risk assessment of the adverse health effects of chemicals. The overall objective of RA-COURSES has been to provide a coherent European course programme in health risk assessment that gives a comprehensive training covering all aspects needed for future scientists and professionals in European health risk assessment.

RA-COURSES has organised ten training courses that covered the following: General principles and applications in health risk assessment, Receptor-mediated toxicity, Reproductive and developmental toxicology, Susceptibility and exposure of the developing foetus, infant and child, Health risk assessment of combined exposures, Benchmark dose modelling for risk assessment of chemicals, Chemical exposure assessment analysis and modelling, Dietary exposure assessment, concentration and consumption databases and probabilistic modelling, Interactions between science and policy in health risk assessment and handling of scientific uncertainty, International, European and national regulatory processes in health risk assessment.

A network of experts from European universities and research institutes has planned the courses. The invited teachers have been experts from universities and regulatory agencies in Europe and USA, who in their daily work are involved in health risk assessment work. The course organisers and teachers have collaborated closely during the project, which has led to the formation of a strong infrastructure for a continued collaboration in training and research. The courses have been widely disseminated and have been established as well known courses of high quality and thus attracted a very large number of applications; 3-5 applications for each available course place. Each course has had 30 participants. Twenty participants in their first 4 years of research activity and without a PhD degree and 5 with at least 4 years and less than 10 years of research experience or with a PhD degree received funding for travel, subsistence and course fee from RA-COURSES. In addition 5 participants with more than 10 years of research experience or who were professionals in industry or authorities participated in each course. The selection of participants has been based on the relevance of the field of research or area of work, previous training and motivation.

The applications have come from all our Europe as well as Africa, Asia and North America. At each course there have been participants from 15-18 countries. The wide international participation in the courses have been an important aspect of forming an excellent learning environment with participants with different expertise and background sharing their knowledge in discussions and networking. All courses have had a very high quality and the participants have been very satisfied. In the questionnaire the question "Overall, are you satisfied with the course?" have received between 4.3 and 4.8 marks out of 5 possible at all the courses. The courses have been characterised by teaching and learning methods with a strong focus on activating the participants in discussions and group assignments. At all courses the participants have worked in groups on assignments that have given then hands on experience and training in performing different tasks in the overall risk assessment procedure.

The participants have at the course worked closely together and formed a strong network that they are now using in their future careers. The participants have received a high quality training that has prepared them for a successful career in industry, regulatory agencies and academia. They have a strong knowledge in different aspects of health risk assessment and a common view of the future challenges in the area that contributes to a joint scientific platform for future development and harmonisation of risk assessment procedures in Europe.

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