Joint VKM and EFSA Symposium in Oslo, 26 - 27 October 2017

How can we derive operational protection goals for use in environmental risk assessments? This question will be addressed at the Symposium where EFSA’s latest guidance on making protection goals operational will be presented.

The Symposium also aims at fostering dialogue and cooperation on protection goals between risk assessors and risk managers.


Background for the Symposium

In June 2016, EFSA issued guidance on how to derive specific protection goals (SPGs) for use in environmental risk assessments. The aim of the guidance is to provide a harmonised methodological framework using the ecosystem services concept to derive practical, specific environmental protection goals, regardless of the regulated product or organism that is being assessed. It is imperative that risk assessors and risk managers are encouraged to be in close dialogue when defining SPGs, because setting the level of protection involves normative considerations that cannot be accounted for by risk assessors alone.

To highlight potential impacts in advance of allowing the commercial use of regulated products, or the spread of alien organisms, an Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) is generally conducted to assist decision-making. ERA is an important analytical scientific tool that helps regulatory decision-making. Robust ERAs begin with an explicit problem formulation where plausible and relevant exposure scenarios and the potential adverse effects from those exposures are identified. Risk is then characterised by testing specific hypotheses about the likelihood and severity of adverse effects.

Biodiversity is one of the key protection goal often referred to in different legislative frameworks. It is, however, a very broad term when considered in a risk assessment and subsequent risk-management context. Specifying particular components of biodiversity that need protection, for example specific species or ecological processes, will define the framework in which risk assessors operate when performing ERAs, and provide more practical, specific protection goals for risk managers.

The objectives of this Symposium are to facilitate and encourage dialogue and cooperation on protection goals between risk assessors and risk managers, and to present EFSA’s latest guidance on making protection goals operational for use in ERAs.

The Symposium will include presentations from international speakers, as well as a panel discussion with representatives from environmental and food safety Agencies in the Nordic Zone.


Where: KS Agenda Meeting Centre External link, opens in new window., Oslo, Norway
When: 26 - 27 October 2017

The Symposium is free of charge and includes a light lunch on both days.

Professor Huw Jones

Huw Jones is professor of translational genomics for plant breeding at Aberystwyth University, UK. His expertise is molecular biology, intracellular signalling, and applied biotechnology approaches to facilitate plant breeding.

He has particular interests in gene transformation, targeted gene editing, intra- and inter-species RNAi mediated gene silencing and in identifying and validating cereal promoters for targeting expression to pre-defined tissues.

Huw Jones has significant experience in risk-assessment and regulatory aspects of biotechnology, and is currently vice-chair of the EFSA GMO Panel.

He has published over 100 research papers, books and other articles.

Professor Lorraine Maltby

Lorraine Maltby is professor of environmental biology at the University of Sheffield, UK.

She has thirty years research and teaching experience in ecology, ecotoxicology and ecological risk assessment.

Her research is concerned with understanding the impact of anthropogenic activities on freshwater ecosystems and their catchments. A major research aim is to gain a mechanistic understanding of key ecosystem services and the ecological processes that underpin them, and to investigate how they are affected by anthropogenic inputs and activities.

Her expertise in environmental biology has led to several prestigious prizes, including the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Environmental Education Award. Maltby is currently a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals and the UNEP Scientific Expert Group on Chemicals and the Environment. She has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has co-authored three books in ecotoxicology and risk assessment.

Professor Philip E. Hulme

Philip Hulme is professor of plant biosecurity at Lincoln University, NZ. His research aims to provide scientists, conservationists and policy makers with the tools to address the problem of biological invasions.

Philip Hulme's primary research interest relates to understanding the ecology of invasions by introduced plant species, assessing the subsequent consequences for natural and managed ecosystems and developing tools to help prevention or management.

Philip Hulme holds the inaugural Chair in Plant Biosecurity at Lincoln University, a unique position jointly supported by Lincoln University and the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Associate professor Wopke Van der Werf

Wopke Van der Werf is associate professor of plant health. His research focus on spatial ecology and ecosystem service provisioning in agricultural landscapes, ecology of intercropping, invasive species risk assessment, and biological pest control.

Wopke van der Verf's lab study the ecology of agricultural ecosystems at levels of scale from the plant up to the continental. In his research, he combine ecological theories with data through modelling and advanced statistics.

Wopke Van der Werf is a member of the plant health expert panel of EFSA. This panel of 21 experts provides the European Commission with scientific advice on the management of plant health risks from exotic plant pests, including the use of biological control.


For questions concerning the scientific program and venue, accommodation and registration, including cancellations, please contact us by e-mail

Presentations and Summary Report from the symposium

You can find all the presentations and Summary Report here.