The popularity of the course is this year somewhat higher than it was in 2014 and 2015: 744 participants from 85 countries (ranging from Bahama to Vietnam and from Zambia to Canada) have registered! (in 2014: 270 participants, in 2015: 400+) Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from. As in the previous years, the majority of participants are from analytical laboratories, once again demonstrating the continuing need for training in measurement uncertainty estimation in analytical chemistry.
The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. Some developments and improvements have been made to the course material, in particular, some more self-tests ave been added. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get higher than 50% score. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from the University of Tartu.
It is planned to run this course as MOOC again in Spring 2017.
We currently have more than 250 registered participants from more than 50 countries.
The full course material is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/measurement/uncertainty. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged measurement uncertainty calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get higher than 50% score. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform. Participants who successfully pass the course will get a certificate from University of Tartu.
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The second day of the EACH Winter school was full of excitement.
The key event of the second day was dissolved oxygen intercomparison between the student teams. The samples were water samples from the nearby lake Pühajärv. The student teams used optical oxygen sensors (based on luminescence), see the photo on the left. The seriousness of the intercomparison is underpinned by the independent reference values determined using the highly accurate primary Winkler titration procedure (developed by Irja Helm in her PhD thesis).
The results of the intercomparison will be summarized at the closing of the Winter school.
On the right you can see the group photo (Lake pühajärv is behind the trees) taken right after the lunch and followed by a spontaneous snow fight (photo on the left, below) where the “African team” (Ime and Olivier, in the centre) performed stunningly well in comparison to the Nordic snow fighters!
The consortium committee spent most of the day interviewing students and discussing (including negotiations with university officials about maximum possible numbers of students) for distributing students to study tracks. The day ended with the long-awaited announcement that it will be possible to grant every student the preferred study track!
On the photo on the right you can see prof. Bergquist and his team taking pictures of the students selected for the Uppsala study track.
Today, on Jan 25, 2016, the first Winter School of the EACH programme started in Pühajärve (Estonia). Altogether 24 students from 17 countries participate (besides EACH students, also some other international students from Tartu have been invited). Leading European analytical chemistry experts act as teachers and supervisors at the Winter School.
The Winter School offers a diverse set of activities to the participants. There are lectures on advanced analytical chemistry topics, tasks on data analysis and choosing analytical strategies. One of the sessions is specifically dedicated to employment opportunities of analytical chemists. The most ambitious part, a full-fledged in situ intercomparison measurement (between student teams) of dissolved oxygen concentration in lake water, will be carried out on the second day of the Winter School.
The intense working is counterbalanced by winter sports activities and relaxing in spa/swimming pool.
In a recent edition of the premier journal devoted to quality and metrology in chemistry Accreditation and Quality Assurance Ivo Leito has attempted to express in very simple terms the essence of Metrology in Chemistry. In the article Accred. Qual. Assur. 2015, 20, 229–231 he arrived at three main recommendations:
1. Whenever possible, comparisons with reference values should be carried out. The reference values can be realized in different ways: Certified reference materials (CRMs), Laboratory reference materials (LRMs), Measurements with reference methods, etc.
2. Data on stable samples should be collected over long time periods (e.g. as the X chart), in order to evaluate as many sources of variability in the analysis method, as possible. The longer the time period, the more systematic effects will become random and thus easier to evaluate (more on this topic can be found in a recent review on bias).
3. “Do not stop there!”, meaning that the above mentioned activities should run in a lab on a continuous basis.
As a conclusion, it can be said that constant improvement is the key to reliable analytical results.
The seminar was highly successful – there was in-depth discussion during each of the sessions and the discussions continued during coffee breaks. The measurement uncertainty session featured a full-fledged uncertainty estimation (contaminant determination by LC-MS), which the participants carried out themselves on laptop computers that they had brought with them.
It is expected that the collaboration between UT and Jožef Stefan Institute (and other research centres in the region) will continue and deepen.
The First Circular contains all the important information and is available from the above page.
EcoBalt 2016 is an international research conference that will address all scientific and technological developments in the field of environment and its protection: air, water, soil, contamination assessment and options for its reduction, environmentally friendly technologies and products, recycling, biodiversity, environmental education, etc. The conference will be held on 9.-12. October 2016 in Tartu, Estonia, in the Dorpat conference centre.
This international two-year joint master degree programme educates specialists in analytical chemistry well qualified to work in industry (food, pharmaceutical, materials, energy, etc) and chemical analysis laboratories (environment, food, health, etc) worldwide. EACH provides knowledge and practical skills in both fundamental and applied aspects of modern analytical chemistry. Practical internship placement in industry or laboratories is an important part of the training.
The programme is suitable both for students who have finished their bachelor’s studies and want to continue in master’s studies, as well as for working analytical chemistry practitioners wishing to spend couple of years to bring their knowledge and skills to a new level.
The programme is taught by four universities: University of Tartu (UT, coordinator), Estonia; Uppsala University (UU), Sweden; University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL), France; and Åbo Akademi University (AAU), Finland. The language of instruction is English, but students will also learn to communicate in one of the languages of the countries involved.
The online application form, admission requirements, deadlines, list of necessary documents, instructions/explanations, as well as contact data for questions are available from the EACH Admission information page.
On Oct 14, 2015 Tallinn University of Technology and University of Tartu jointly organized the first cooperation festival “Right time, right place” (“Õigel ajal õiges kohas”), venue: Mektory innovation centre, Tallinn).
The festival aimed first of all at intensifying collaboration between Estonian industry and academia, but also between different research teams of the two universities. The interest in the event was so large that at some point pre-registration was stopped because of too many participants. The participant number who eventually participated in the event reached 430.
The analytical chemistry research group of UT was also present at the festival and promoted the ECAC distributed interdisciplinary research infrastructure. ECAC unites the competence and analytical capabilities of three prominent organizations in Estonia: University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology and the Estonian Environmental Research Centre and offers access to analytical instruments as well as services and collaboration both to academia and industry. Ivo Leito made a presentation about the analytical possibilities of ECAC that can be of interest to the Industry: Analüütilise Keemia Kvaliteedi Infrastruktuur (AKKI) (in Estonian).
In addition, we demonstrated our FT-IR analysis capability and had a fully operational ATR-FT-IR instrument with us (image on the right), enabling any interested person to run material analysis of either the samples that we brought with us or almost anything that could be found on site. People were very interested in the analysis of wood coatings, different polymers and also of their own clothes (e.g. for determining whether a necktie is made of silk or polyester) and research fellow Signe Vahur – our main FT-IR expert – was busy all the day to record and interpret spectra and give explanations to interested people.
This possibility of instant ATR-FT-IR analysis proved to be the most popular topic in the Chemistry thematic room of the festival and attracted much attention from people with very different backgrounds. This is not surprising – this instrumental method has been in the core of a number of research collaboration projects with industry in the past and is expected to be so also in the future.
EACH and AMS students strongly benefit from the expertise and instrumentation that has been accumulated by ECAC (AKKI). Several of the EACH/AMS teachers are directly involved in ECAC and a number of ECAC’s instruments are used in teaching and thesis work.
The presentation outlined the contents and organisation of the material in the on-line course Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis, the ways of using it (for independent learning, for self-testing, as an information source and as a basis for running as a MOOC) and the experience of running it as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) at University of Tartu in spring 2014 and 2015. Part of the presentation was devoted to analyzing the pros and cons of MOOCs as a way of teaching and in particular as a way of teaching analytical chemistry (or its subdisciplines). It was concluded that MOOCs do have advantages, especially if compared to short training courses for practitioners. The talk created quite some interest and discussions after the session.