Development and challenges related to sampling, analysis, removal and environmental impact assessment of microplastics

Language: English
Level of course: PhD course
Time : December 3-5, 2019
Place: University of Oulu, Botanical Gardens and Linnanmaa Campus
Credits: 3-5 depending on the course work completed
Capacity: 20 students for the course

Background and course aims
The occurrence and impact of microplastics in the environment and human health is not clear as not enough and comparable data exists about occurrence and quantification of microplastics. More accurate, faster and valid methods for microplastics analysis need to be developed for different matrices. In addition, development and dissemination of wastewater treatment and diffuse pollution control methods capable of retaining microplastics are needed to decrease loading to sensitive and over polluted ecosystems such as the Baltic Sea. Challenges related to the sampling, analysis and evaluation of environmental impacts of microplastics require a multidisciplinary approach to be overcome. To address this, in this course lecturers from different backgrounds and renown experts in their fields has been invited to provide up-to-date knowledge on microplastics related issues and to share newest results and experiences on sampling, analysis, removal and environmental impacts of microplastics.

The objective of the course is to introduce and present research methodologies and the newest results in the field of microplastics in Europe. In addition, the course aims to broaden and disseminate existing knowledge on practical solution regarding sampling, analysis, removal and environmental impact assessment of microplastics.  To the doctoral students, the course will offer great opportunity to improve their skills and expand their network since the course includes lectures given by specific experts in Europe, practical assignments, discussion activity and a seminar. The seminar will be open to the general public as well as students, experts and authorities not attending the course.

Prerequisities and Learning activities
Before the course, the students will familiarize themselves with the topic by reading material provided by the organizers and completing a short preliminary assignment. During the course, professors and experts will provide lectures that will include assignments or other hands on activities. The students are encouraged to keep a learning diary during the intensive course days. After the course period, the students can deepen their knowledge by completing and returning provided assignments. The return of satisfactory completed assignments will enable participating students to receive a total of 5 ECTS credit points from the course.

Registrations to the PhD course (includes participation in the seminar) in this link latest on November 24, 2019.

More information and contact person
For the further information and enquiries, please contact:
Dr. Elisangela Heiderscheidt (elisangela.heiderscheidt at

Course progam (tentative, subject to changes)

FIRST DAY: Microplastics in the environment
Tuesday December 3, 2019
Place Botanical Gardens, University of Oulu

10:00-10:15  Opening of the course and welcome words                                             

10:15-10:45  Introduction lecture: Microplastics, sources, points of entry routes to the environment (presenter will be confirmed latter)

10:45-11:30  Learning activity

11:30-12:30  LUNCH (at own cost)

12:30-16:00  Participation in the Seminar Introduction to microplastics and on-going research projects in Finland 

SECOND DAY: Sampling and extraction of microplastics
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Place Room TM113 from 08:30 to 11:00
Place Room TS127 from 13:00 to 16:00

08:30-09:30  Lecture on sampling and extraction

09:30-10:00  Lecture on methodologies and technologies for microplastics analysis (presenter will be confirmed latter)

10:00-10:30  COFFEE BREAK and networking

10:30-10:45  Learning activity

10:45-12:30  Laboratory work

12:30-13:30  LUNCH (own cost)

13:30-14:30  Lecture on microplastics biodegradability: Prof. Marcus Horn, University of Hannover, Germany

14:30 -15:30 Lecture on removal of microplastics in different processes in municipal wastewater treatment plants (presenter will be confirmed latter)

15:30-16:00  Learning activity and summary of the days learning outcomes


THIRD DAY: Results interpretation and future challenges
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Place Room TS127 from 8:30 to 12:00
Place Room TS101 from 13:00 to 16:00

08:30-9:30  Lecture on analysis and quantification of microplastics: Prof. Christian Laforsch, University of Bayreuth, Germany

09:30-11:00  Learning activity

11:00 -12:00 Lecture on impacts of microplastics on ecosystems: Prof. Marcus Horn, University of Hannover, Germany

12:00-13:00   LUNCH (own cost)

13:00-14:00  Lecture on distribution routes of microplastics across different matrices (soil, air, water): Prof. Christian Laforsch, University of Bayreuth, Germany

14:00-14:30  COFFEE BREAK and networking

14:30-16:00  Panel discussion on future challenges led by Christian Laforsch and Marcus Horn



Last updated: 28.10.2019