Micro and nanoplastics have recently been found in our soil, tap water, bottled water, beer and even in the air we breathe, with a growing concern about the potential health risks they pose to us. Whether that is through ingesting the harmful bacteria they pick up when coming from wastewater plants, or just through injury and death of cells through contact, possibly through absorbtion of nanoplastics by cells, we really don’t know. Which is why there is an urgent need for more research on their toxicity and also why a new EC drinking water directive is to be published in 2019 stating that water companies will need to measure concentrations of microplastics from within two years for positive release and inspection. However, even though a standard measurement method will be published in 2019 for water, its necessary use of exisiting and expensive scientific laboratory equipment, such as microscopy and FTIR or Raman spectroscopy, will make it prohibitively expensive for in line use for many companies across Europe especially considering its need for highly trained personnel. There is therefore a need to develop suitable technologies for a robust, easy to use and low cost industrial instrument, whose measurements will correspond directly to the aforementiond standard, as well as train engineers for method development and operation. Given these multiple technical and analytical challenges, and that global production of plastic, that can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, is expected to triple by 2050; we propose a timely four year Initial Training Network to train multiple Early State Researchers throughout various scientific areas. Consisting of some of Europes greatest experts in their fields it will provide tomorrows talent with the skills and knowledge to tackle possibly one of mankinds greatest threats to its existence whilst they jointly develop the technologies for the industrial instrument in collaboration with end-users and equipment manufacturers.
|Effective start/end date||1/01/20 → 31/12/23|