Our graduate with an award for young scientists

Dr. Karolina Nowak, a graduate of environmental protection at the Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture of the University of Warmia and Mazury (2004), currently a post-doctoral student at the Faculty of Geobiotechnology at the Technical University of Berlin, has received the LRI Innovative Science award of EUR 100,000.

It is one of the largest research grants in Europe for beginner researchers. The award ceremony took place on 20 November 2019 in Brussels during the 21st annual Cefic Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI) workshop.

Dr. Nowak's winning research aims to develop a fast and cost-effective screening method for testing the stability of chemicals in complex environments. A chemical is persistent when the mineralization degree is low and the amount of non-extractable residue (NER) is high. NERs can be toxic chemicals or harmless biomass of bacteria and both of their forms bind to soil or water sediments. Until now, it is difficult to distinguish between them using current analytical methods, which makes regulatory approval of chemicals difficult.

“Chemicals should be assessed for persistence in water and soil as part of regulatory control. This new approach will significantly support the chemical industry and the authorities responsible for chemical approval. It will simplify the NER analysis and improve environmental risk assessments," explains Dr Nowak.

With the Cefic-LRI Award, her project can move from proposal to implementation and produce an analytical method for NER characterization.

Over the past two decades, the LRI programme has funded more than 250 research projects through grants and the Innovative Science Award. These projects aim to provide scientific advice on which the whole industry and regulators rely in order to respond more quickly and accurately to societal concerns. LRI-funded projects have also led to the development of a number of quality assurance, easy-to-use and accessible databases and tools for chemical risk assessment.

Dr. Karolina Nowak is the daughter of  Prof. Grzegorz Nowak, the late head of the Department of Agricultural Chemistry and Environmental Protection of the Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Agriculture, and she prepared her MSc thesis under the supervision of Dr. hab. Andrzej Klasa of this Department.

Read more about Dr. Nowak’s proposal here.


prep. lek, source: LRI