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Celebrating 20 years of SETAC German Language Branch (GLB)

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Abstract

This editorial presents the objectives and achievements of the German Language Branch of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Europe (SETAC GLB), a regional branch of SETAC Europe, of the last 20 years. SETAC GLB serves Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, by providing an open forum for research related to ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry, to the sustainable management and regulation of natural resources, to education in environmental sciences, as well as to issues related to research and development, and manufacturing of chemicals and products. The editorial serves as an introduction for an article collection published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, providing an overview of the current state of ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry in German-speaking countries and of the main developments and key topics within SETAC GLB. The article collection was developed on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the regional branch of SETAC Europe.

Dear readers

In 1996, the German Language Branch of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Europe (SETAC GLB) was inaugurated in Aachen, Germany. SETAC GLB serves Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, by providing an open forum for research related to ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry, to the sustainable management and regulation of natural resources, to education in environmental sciences, as well as to issues related to research and development, and manufacturing of chemicals and products. Alongside the annual meetings, a forum to discuss and exchange information, SETAC GLB’s main activities are related to promoting young researchers and to increasing visibility of our field within science and society. Over two decades, SETAC GLB has become the leading scientific society in this field in the German-speaking countries.

Our annual meetings are a well-known and well-attended platform, not only for experienced members, but also particularly for young scientists to present the results of their Master and Ph.D. theses as well as to enter into discussion and establish contacts with more seasoned members of the Society (see also the editorial of the SETAC Europe Students Advisory Council (SAC), this issue, Box 1, [1]). We are also able to present an award, once per year, for the best Master and Ph.D. thesis in ecotoxicology completed in a German-speaking country. In this context, another major focus of our effort to promote the next generation of scientists is the postgraduate degree program in ecotoxicology, which is jointly organized by SETAC GLB and GDCh (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker e.V.) group ‘Environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology’ (cf. Ebke et al., this issue, Box 1, [2]). To date, the program looks back on a more than 10-year success story: from the start, courses had an average enrollment rate of 90%, and the vast majority of employment-seeking graduates from the first courses succeeded in quickly finding a job related to their training. With over 450 students enrolled and graduates now working in academia, business, and government, the degree program can be considered a cornerstone of education for ecotoxicologists and environmental chemists in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. However, despite these successes in promoting young researchers, all is not yet rosy in our research landscape. Recently, Martin Scheringer (this issue; Box 1, [3]) analyzed the current situation concerning the standing of ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry in the academic system with a special focus on Germany and Switzerland.

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Authors’ contributions

JZ and HH conceptualized the manuscript. RAD, KPE, DE, TF, BH, MJ, DK, AK, SK, and NR contributed specific aspects to the manuscript and improved the manuscript content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Acknowledgements

We like to thank Carol Sizmur for improving the English language of this manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests. HH is Editor-in-Chief of this Journal.

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Correspondence to Jochen P. Zubrod or Henner Hollert.

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Keywords

  • Ecotoxicology
  • Environmental chemistry
  • SETAC
  • Anniversary