Working hard setting up experiments, getting the expected results, and publishing your work in great journals are all key goals for a researcher; however, communicating your research outside academia is also a professionally valuable experience. On 6th July, I had the chance to present my work and learn more about the great work that they do at Cambridge Environmental Assessment (CEA).

Cambridge Environmental Assessment is located in the picturesque countryside location of Boxworth, Cambridge. The Ecotoxicology team and Adrian Terry (head of CEA) were very pleased to meet me and discuss my work. I was interested in understanding the implications of my research in the environmental sector, and to gain insight into the roles and responsibilities of different pathways outside academia.

During the last year of my PhD (part of REMEDIATE), I have been focused on linking bioavailability of complex chemical mixtures to toxicity changes, providing multiple lines of evidence to inform risk management decisions at contaminated sites. Therefore, I presented my work on an experimental set-up where contaminated soils, collected from former gas work sites were treated with amendments (biochar or compost) incubated for 6 months, and their toxicity evaluated thought different ecotoxicological assays. The CEA team was very engaged, asked a lot of questions and provided valuable feedback on my work.

Eco-toxicological assays earthworms acute toxicity test (Location: Cranfield University)

Throughout the day Dr. Adrian Terry presented/introduced the CEA team (which includes experts in environmental fate and behaviour, exposure and spatial modelling, ecotoxicology and toxicology), and explained the overall aim and objectives of the company.

Dr. Hanna Schuster, presented the current work on over 200 outdoor aquatic mesocosms (flat-bottomed or sloped) to simulate different edge-of-field environments with a focus on plants and invertebrates (e.g; in-house identification of freshwater phytoplankton, periphyton, macrophytes, zooplankton, and macroinvertebrates). Hanna also guided me through the facility to visit their mesocosms set-up for bespoke higher-tier aquatic studies.

Mesocosms setup for bespoke higher-tier aquatic studies (Location: CEA)

Dr. Nadine Taylor, presented a range of different works including the very interesting research projects she developed during her PhD and postdoc using molecular high throughput techniques and physiological endpoints to determine ecosystem changes to environmental stress.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to my sponsor for providing funding for my training and networking opportunities; and to the ecotoxicology team and Adrian Terry for hosting me at CEA and appreciating my research work.

It was a great day for me to network and discuss my work with experts in the field, and hopefully future collaborations will arise from this meeting.

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Note: Top photo located within Cranfield University.

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