LimnoPlast, a Horizon 2020 funded EU-project that started in November 2019, approaches the topic of microplastics in freshwater ecosystems from a holistic perspective and therefore brings together the three very different disciplines environmental, technical and social sciences.
In the course of this Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (MSCA-ITN), 15 interdisciplinary young researchers from the fields of polymer and engineering sciences, toxicology and ecology, environmental, social and legal sciences as well as psychology are trained. They will investigate the origins of microplastics, its effects as well as technological and social solutions. Among other things, the sources and effects of microplastics on the freshwater ecosystems around the European urban areas of Aarhus, Amsterdam and Paris are being researched.
What distinguishes Limnoplast from similar previous studies is that besides studies on the direct impact of microplastics on people and the development of new polymers, the social scientific and economic aspects are also being examined – i.e. the effects of microplastics on society, the economy and, ultimately, on legal framework conditions.
The project’s aim is to strengthen interdisciplinary cooperation within Europe and to promote the dialogue between the industry, research institutions, policy makers and environmental organisations. In cooperation with 12 European project partners who are directly involved in the scientific funding and support of the doctoral students, another 12 partner organisations from science and industry are involved in the project which is coordinated by the University of Bayreuth.
Out contact office ConTact was significantly involved in the preparations and the coordination of the LimnoPlast project application. LimnoPlast was first submitted in 2015 as part of the EU’s “Excellent Science” program. Over the past four years, ConTact has organised administrative tasks, coordinated the entire consortium and provided advice and feedback on the resubmission of the application, which was eventually approved in 2019.
In close cooperation with the coordinator Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch, Chemie-Cluster Bayern is taking over the project management for the next four years. In addition to the contract preparation with the European Commission, an underlying administrative project structure was established, and the first kick-off meeting was successfully conducted in November 2019.