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News from the SETAC Europe Student Advisory Council (April 2013) - the 3rd Young Environmental Scientists (YES) meeting at the Jagiellonian University, Poland


This article reports on the 3rd Young Environmental Scientists Meeting that was hosted from 11 to 13 February 2013 by the Institute of Environmental Sciences at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. This student-only meeting under the theme of ‘interdisciplinary discourse on current environmental challenges’ was again organized by the Student Advisory Council of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Europe. An abstract book of the meeting is freely available as supplemental material of this article.

The Young Environmental Scientists (YES) Meetings are unique, student-only conferences aimed to help overcome some of the major issues young researchers have to cope with: receiving travel funding for scientific conferences, presenting research findings, and starting to build a scientific network. The 3rd YES Meeting ( took place from 11 to 13 February 2013 and was hosted by the Institute of Environmental Sciences at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. This meeting was organized jointly by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe Student Advisory Council (SAC; chaired by Jochen Zubrod), the Local Organizing Committee (chaired by Dragan Jevtić), and the Scientific Committee (chaired by Michael Melato and Markus Brinkmann), with the aim of achieving a fruitful meeting on a high scientific level.

As with the two previous meetings in Landau [1] and Aachen [2], both in Germany, one of the main goals of the 3rd YES Meeting was to invite students from all over the world based solely on the scientific quality of their submitted abstracts and not on their geographical or financial limitations. To achieve this goal, participation in the YES Meeting was again free of charge and all student presenters received travel grants. This was only possible due to the remarkable financial support by our sponsors: SETAC (Europe, World, North America, and German Language Branch), universities (Institute of the Environmental Sciences of the Jagiellonian University and University of Koblenz-Landau), companies (BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dr. Knoell Consult, Evonik, Kawaska, Syngenta, and Waters), and a private sponsor (Mirco Bundschuh).

We received more than 145 abstracts in the fields of aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicology, environmental risk assessment, effects and exposure modeling, environmental chemistry, life cycle assessment, nanoparticles, as well as omics and biomarkers from all over the world. After a thorough peer review by the Scientific Committee, 96 students from 27 countries were invited to give either one of 44 platform presentations (Table 1) and/or present a poster (all abstracts can be found in the program and abstract book published as Additional file 1 of this article; Figure 1). These contributions covered a wide array of topics and were generally of a very high scientific quality, which was judged by the participants and the senior scientists on site. This ensured the compliance with both the meeting's and SETAC's mottos of ‘interdisciplinary discourse on current environmental challenges’ and ‘environmental quality through science’. Participants used the time after the talks and during the poster social for engaging in discussions and to get to know each other (Figure 2).

Table 1 Platform presentations given in one of the eight sessions during the 3rd YES Meeting (Krakow, Poland)
Figure 1

The entire program and abstract book is published as Additional file 1 to this article.

Figure 2

Successful networking during the poster social (photograph taken by Zmnako Awrahman).

Students also participated in a soft-skills training in scientific networking organized by Valery Forbes of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During her highly interactive workshop ‘Being remembered for the right reasons,’ the participants learned how to approach senior scientists and the basics of scientific small talk. The overwhelmingly positive feedback by the workshop participants clearly indicates that the soft-skills course was an effective learning tool. Three career talks - given by Sue Martina Starke (UBA - German Federal Environment Agency), Matthias Bergtold (BASF, Germany), and Alistair Boxall (University of York, UK) - provided the participants with helpful insights such as necessary skills and qualifications as well as opportunities and challenges of careers in government, business, and academia, the three sectors represented by SETAC. As a supplement to the career talks, two of our partners (BASF and UBA) additionally presented their company/institution in the job corner. The participants used this opportunity to get in contact with these potential future employers.

From the feedback of the senior scientists on site as well as the participants - results from an online questionnaire were positive in all assessed categories - we believe that the 3rd YES Meeting was again a unique opportunity for the participants to become familiar with routines associated with a scientific career and a good starting point to build a wide scientific network. We thus want to thank all of our supporters and hope that in 2015 we can report in this journal about the 4th YES Meeting.


  1. 1.

    Bundschuh M, Dabrunz A, Bollmohr S, Brinkmann M, Caduff M, Gomez-Eyles J, Kienle C, Melato M, Patrick-Iwuanyanwu K, Van Hoecke K, Seiler T-B, Brooks A: 1st Young Environmental Scientists (YES) Meeting - new challenges in environmental sciences. Environ Sci Pollut Res 2009, 16: 479–481. 10.1007/s11356-009-0158-9

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  2. 2.

    Brinkmann M, Kaiser D, Peddinghaus S, Berens ML, Braunig J, Galic N, Bundschuh M, Zubrod JP, Dabrunz A, Liu T, Melato M, Mieiro C, Sdepanian S, Westman O, Kimmel S, Seiler TB: The Second Young Environmental Scientist (YES) Meeting 2011 at RWTH Aachen University - environmental challenges in a changing world. Europe: Environ Sci 2011, 23: 29. 10.1186/2190-4715-23-29

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The SAC is indebted to all sponsors, the Local Organizing and the Scientific Committee, the meeting participants, Sue Martina, Alistair, Matthias, and especially Valery as well as all other persons and institutions that supported the organization and conduct of the meeting. Furthermore, we thank ESEU for providing this platform.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jochen P Zubrod.

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Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

JPZ, DMJ, AMM, DE, MW, EKB, TF, VK, AA, and MB are members of the SAC or its North American counterpart (NASAC) and the Scientific Committee of the meeting and have essentially participated in the organization and conduct of the meeting. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Electronic supplementary material

The 3rd Young Environmental Scientists Meeting February 2013, Krakow, Poland.

Additional file 1: Program and abstract book. (PDF 6 MB)

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Below are the links to the authors’ original submitted files for images.

Authors’ original file for figure 1

Authors’ original file for figure 2

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Zubrod, J.P., Jevtić, D.M., Melato, A.M. et al. News from the SETAC Europe Student Advisory Council (April 2013) - the 3rd Young Environmental Scientists (YES) meeting at the Jagiellonian University, Poland. Environ Sci Eur 25, 16 (2013).

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