LRI Innovative Science Award 2014

Are you a rebel thinker? Do you have a good idea? Make it come alive!

The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), in conjunction with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), the Association of European Toxicologists and European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX), the International Society of Exposure Sciences (ISES) and Chemical Week, is offering a €100,000 award to support promising new research in the field of environmental risk assessment and management.

In recent years European regulations have tended towards use of hazard criteria to assess the acceptability of substances with highly hazardous properties, such as those classified as SVHC, for example PBTs (Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic). This is justified by the higher levels of uncertainty in determining risks to the environment and the potential difficulties in remediation. However, several published case studies indicate that risk assessment is possible for these difficult substances (ECETOC TR 112, 2011). In addition, recent advances in the application of mechanistic insights in fate and effects modelling, and in laboratory and field studies may increase our capability to assess the risks of substances with properties of concern, e.g. those measured or predicted to be P and/or B and/or T.

We are looking for new approaches and techniques that address the challenges in assessing such substances which could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Lab to field extrapolation
  • Field assessment
  • Weight of evidence assessment

(Reference: ECETOC TR 112 - Refined Approaches for Risk Assessment of PBT/vPvB Chemicals, October 2011)

The objective of this LRI Award is to stimulate innovative research, ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and new approaches which will advance the environmental assessment of hazardous substances.

The research should be complementary to the Long-range Research Initiative's (LRI) objectives, a chemical industry funded programme that aims at enhancing scientific knowledge to help protect health and the environment. More information is available on the LRI website (see “About LRI”)

The award is intended for a European-based scientist with less than ten years of experience after doctoral degree. Active involvement in interdisciplinary research, current academic track record, and access to appropriate networks will be considered in the selection.

The LRI Innovative Science Award will be officially presented at the LRI Annual Workshop on 20 November 2014. The 2014 Awardee will be expected to present the results of his/her research supported by the Award at the LRI Annual Workshop in November 2015.

Deadline for applications: 14 March 2014 (midnight CET)

Oral presentation by the 3 finalists and selection of the winner: 2 JUNE 2014

The presentation of the three finalists and the selection of the winner will take place in Brussels on

2 June 2014.

For more information feel free to send an e-mail to


Feedback from previous LRI Award winners:

"The Cefic-LRI award was definitely a very interesting experience in my life - both personally (giving your best to convince the jury that your project is definitely worth being funded) as well as scientifically. The prize money enabled me to employ a PhD student working on toxicity modeling using integrated chemical, biological and phenotypic properties, which is very timely given that more and more chemical and biological information becomes available these days that we can use for the generation of predictive models. In addition, there are first indications that integrated modeling methods outperform single-descriptor methods, hence this work will be both conceptually novel as well as particularly important for the area of toxicity and risk assessment. Winning the Cefic-LRI award has helped me very much in integrating toxicogenomics aspects into my current research work, and I would sincerely like to thank Cefic for this great opportunity", Andreas Bender, 2012 Innovative Science Award winner

"I received the 2010 LRI Innovative Award for my proposal entitled “In quest of new fingerprints of exposure to VOC from consumer products”. Winning this award has been a pivotal factor in my research and professional career. It has allowed me to create my research group, managing my own research budget and having two PhD students working alongside me in the project. It has also given me the opportunity to attend conferences and research meetings, allowing me not only to meet new scientists, but also establishing fruitful collaborations with other research groups, such as the Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors at Arizona State University (USA) and the Molecular and Cell Biology Research group at the University of Birmingham (UK).  Last but not least, the LRI award has been a great catalyst to attract more funding to expand and put into practice my research ideas in the field of human exposure to nanoparticles, biomarkers of oxidative stress and the use of real time sensors to characterise exposures and lung doses. In the latter field of research, I have received the very prestigious Health Effects Institute 2011 Walter A Rosenblith New Investigator Award. Overall, the LRI Award has provided me with substantial professional growth and independence. I look forward to the scientific and professional results that the project will generate." Juana Maria Delgado Saborit, 2010 Innovative Science Award winner

"Since I won the Award only a year ago I have been busy putting the project into action. It has been great having the freedom to, and experience of, setting up my own project, and managing both the science and financial aspects of the project. Whilst it was initially planned that the award would provide me with an extra years salary (I was originally employed on a 3 year postdoc with the MRC), winning the award enabled me to apply and be successfully promoted to an Investigator Scientist, a permanent post. This in turn has enabled me to employ a research assistant (who started just 2 weeks ago) to work alongside me on the project. In addition to increasing the amount of work and data, this will also provide me with valuable supervisory experience. The award has also given me with the opportunity to travel to European conferences and to present my project. This has improved my confidence as a scientist and as a presenter. I look forward to what the project will discover and hope it will help me to further my career as an independent scientist." Emma Taylor, 2008 LRI Innovative Science Award winner

"In 2005 I won the SETAC Europe / Cefic LRI innovative science award in recognition of the research proposal entitled: "Predicting the response of aquatic invertebrates to chemical stress using species traits and stressor mode of action". The € 100.000, - award was used for travelling, attending conferences, hiring laboratory assistance and buying laboratory consumables for Mascha Rubach, the PhD student working on this subject since 2006 which was funded by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta Crop Protection. The money provided us the means to perform experiments that were very costly (e.g. radioactive ones) and bring the field of the science forward by organising sessions at SETAC conferences and a international SETAC workshop called TERA in Canada in August 2009. We also published a letter to the editor on this subject for the SETAC IEAM journal and the ACS ES&T journal in 2008. The money really gave me the opportunity to explore my own way into this new subject and brought me much scientific gains and independence. The last part of the money will be spend on an extension of the contract of Mascha to finish her thesis and help other students to continue working in this subject. I sincerely thank SETAC and CEFIC-LRI for this award." Paul van den Brink, 2005 LRI Innovative Science Award winner


"Since I received the Cefic LRI award, I am still working at the Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Due to this award, I was enrolled in the 'talent' programme of our institute, in which I am guided in my career by the Human resource management to become Associate Professor first, and then possibly towards a full professorship (with certain specified goals I have to reach every year, such as management work, publications, successful supervision of PhD-students, teaching and proposals).
The subject of my successful Cefic award proposal was of interest to many other researchers, and as a result, our department was asked to participate in the EU-project NEWGENERIS ( and a fruitful collaboration was generated with the RIVM (the national institute of public health and the environment;, because of potential new approaches in testing germ-line mutagenicity requiring a lower number of laboratory animals than with traditional methods.
The studies proposed in my original Cefic LRI proposal that was awarded, are still going on. The 100,000 euros of Cefic were doubled by the RIVM to 200,000 euros, which was sufficient to appoint a PhD-student for 4 years. This PhD-student is now finishing her work and will obtain her PhD in the beginning of next year, with at least 4-5 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals." Roger Godschalk, 2004 LRI Innovative Science Award winner