Contaminants of emerging concern: An integrated approach for assessing impacts on the marine environment

CONTRAST (Contaminants of emerging concern: An integrated approach for assessing impacts on the marine environment) is a 4-year EU HORIZON project that started in January 2024. It is led by the Norsk Institutt for Vannforskning (NIVA, Norway) and involves nine other organisations: Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC, Spain), Eigen Vermogen Van Het Instituut Voor Landbouw-en Visserijonderzoek (EV ILVO, Belgium), Havforskningsinstituttet (IMR, Norway), Institut Francais de Recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (IFREMER, France), Goeteborgs Universitet (UGOT, Sweden), Hellenic Centre for marine research (HMRC, Greece), Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS, Italy), The Secretary of State for environment, food and rural affairs (DEFRA-CEFAS, United Kingdom), and Shire Creative Limited (United Kingdom).

The project will develop an integrated assessment and effect-based monitoring framework (IAF) to measure the impacts of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) on the marine environment to provide a measure of Good Environmental Status for application in EU policy (i.e. MSFD/WFD). The project activities will involve in - situ monitoring as well as laboratory-controlled experiments, where the effects on biological systems and marine biodiversity will be investigated. A combination of in silico, in vitro and in vivo bioassays together with omics will be used to determine the principal mechanisms of toxicity of CECs selected from the chemical prioritisation schemes. This will provide important information on how CECs may interact with marine organisms at environmentally relevant concentrations and inform which biological effects tools should be used in the IAF to cover the range of toxicity mechanisms that CECs produce. The knowledge gained from field testing and laboratory studies will form the basis for guidance documents and policy briefs on the best practices for performing an IAF on CECs in the marine environment. Furthermore, the interactions of climate change drivers on CECs will be evaluated including effects on CECs distribution, circulation, fate, bioavailability, and toxicity to marine life.

The role of OGS - National Oceanography Data Centre (NODC) will be to support sharing the large amounts of data produced by the project, by promoting the adoption of standardized data management procedures, developed and consolidated in the framework of large European programmes. In particular, OGS will contribute to the definition of the data management plan (DMP) and to work package six on “Smart solutions for an integrated assessment and monitoring of CECs in European seas,” coordinating the implementation of 4 deliverables. 

  • Topic: HORIZON-CL6-2023-ZEROPOLLUTION-01-2 
  • Type of action: HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions 
  • Granting authority: European Research Executive Agency 



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