For each ESR, training is given in form of network wide training courses (18-20 ECTS), local courses (10-12 ECTS) and training given in the individual research projects. The network wide training courses are distributed on three common training events, and at the end of the project a closing conference will be organized.

At the network wide training courses the following courses will be organized:

Course No. Main Training Events & Conferences ECTS Lead
K1 Kick-off meeting
Gives all participants a common introduction to the ETN, its mission and content. Introduction to NaTox-Aq; Who’s who; Rules and regulations; Ethics and creativity in science.

International conference

Environmental Fate and Safe Water Supply

Provides network and dissemination opportunities for all network participants. Organized with the aim of attracting 80 participants from outside the network.

0 MU
Scientific courses

Sampling and monitoring of natural toxins in plants, sediment, groundwater and freshwaters

Qualifies to monitor the occurrence of natural

toxins in the environment. Spatial variation of soils at catchment level; Biochemical variation of secondary metabolites in plants; Sampling strategies; Freshwater sampling; Natural variation of toxins in the environment. The ESRs must make a poster presentation of a sampling issue in relation to their own research topic.


Analytical chemistry for determination of natural toxins and metabolites

Introduction to analysis of natural toxins in environmental matrices with special emphasis on aquatic media. Sampling, sample preparation procedures, and off-line and online clean-up approaches. Fundamentals on liquid chromatography and gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, and mass spectrometry including single and triple quadrupole analysers, ion traps, quadrupole time of flight (QTOF), and Direct Analysis on Real Time (DART), as well as on novel analytical and computer tools for structure elucidation.


Sorption and degradation of natural toxins in sediment and water

The course provides an overview of the different mechanisms behind sorption and abiotic/biotic degradation of natural toxins, and introduces the different models that can be applied to describe the thermodynamics and kinetics. Particular focus is devoted to sorption due to partitioning, and degradation due to enzymatic processes, hydrolysis and photolysis.


Novel analytical and computer tools for structure elucidation

The course will focus on novel work flows for structure elucidation of unknowns combining advanced LC-HRMS/MS techniques with data the application of large compound and spectra databases together with innovative computer tools for the prediction of mass spectrometric fragmentation, ionisation efficiency, chromatographic retention and toxicity towards different organisms and endpoints.


Risk assessment of organic chemicals and application to natural toxins

Principles of risk assessment are introduced and modern applications at national and EU level (e.g. REACH) will be exemplified. Next, the course will introduce and discuss the special conditions and treatments that risk assessment of natural toxins require. The course also introduces risk assessment in relation to legislation, and consumers, including risk communication.

2 Fera

Screening natural toxins: biological techniques and biosensors in combination with advanced mass spectrometry techniques

The course provides an overview of rapid bioanalytical techniques for screening of natural toxins. Techniques such as immunoassays, bioassays and biosensors based on new bio-receptors will be introduced. The course introduce methods to combine novel biological technologies with instrumental analytical chemistry.


Transport and advanced modelling of organic contaminants in soils, sediments and aquifers

Enables ESRs to assess and predict the environmental fate and behaviour of natural toxins in the environment. The focus will be on multi-media fate models, subsurface transport models, and small to regional scale river water catchment models.

3 SU/Fera

Tools for pollution control and mitigation of streams, lakes and ground water

Qualifies ESRs to understand the tools for pollution control and mitigation that are currently available for other types of contaminants, and to assess the applicability of these tools in relation to natural toxins. Remediation and regulation issues regarding remediation of polluted sites.


Environmental toxicology of natural toxins

This course introduces concepts and methodology used in environmental toxicology and eco-epidemiology of natural toxins. It examines modes of action of different classes of natural toxins. It provides expert knowledge and competences in the field of aquatic and soil ecotoxicology of natural toxins. Impact of natural toxins is addressed at different levels of biological organization. Last part of the course introduces methods for studying the epidemiology of natural toxins.

3 MU
Complementary skills courses

Introduction course for ESRs

Qualifies to use self-reflective learning tools and plan their study. Time and project management;
Competence based development planning; Learning needs analysis; Responsible conduct of research; Introduction to oral and written presentation techniques; Feed-back exercises. The ESRs must prepare a Personal Career Plan (incl. personal development goals), as well as a research plan for the scientific part of the ESR project.


Design of experiments and good laboratory practice

Improves the experimental planning and implementation skills. Multivariate experimental design; Laboratory safety; ISO9000/17025; Good Laboratory Practice; Visit to a quality control department of a large industrial company. The ESRs must prepare a quality assurance plan for their project together with an example of a Standard Operational Procedure for a method of their own choice.


Supervision course - training for supervisors

Qualifies supervisors for supervising NaToxAq ESRs. Legal aspects of ESR training; Coaching based supervision techniques; Learning Needs Analysis; Self-reflective Learning; Personal Career Planning; Supervision on supervision; Basic communication theory; Feedback methods.


Academic writing

Improves the communication skills. Academic vs. scientific writing; Attuning communication to the audience; Writing effectively; Constructing writing groups; Feedback models; Writing in English for non-native speaking writers; Preparation for internet follow-up course.


Project leadership and management

Gives the necessary tools and basic competences to take on the role as project leaders and managers of their projects. What is leadership? Leadership styles; Practical project management; Stakeholder analysis; Project communication; Basic project finances and budgeting; Feedback and instruction methods; Meeting management; Gender and cultural issues. Presentation of a leadership/management issue at Skype seminar.


How to write grant proposals

Introduces to basic application techniques. Overview of the funding area; Connecting to the reader; Writing techniques.


Career workshop

Qualifies to develop a career development plan. Introduction to career development; career talks fromrepresentatives from academia, government, NGOs, industry and consultancy; possibilities for getting funding for their Na-ToxAq. ESRs must evaluate and update their Personal Career Plan developed in course C1 in the light of the obtained information and make the plan SMARTER (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely, Evaluate and Re-evaluate).