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The European Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) grants €4.2 million to research entitled ‘A new paradigm in drug use and human health risk assessment: Sewage profiling at the community level’ (SEWPROF). Prof Pim de Voogt takes part in the network for the UvA Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED).

SEWPROF is a major international initiative within Europe. The aims of the research project is to advance knowledge of the epidemiology of (illicit) drug use and to bridge gaps in the available expertise with the ultimate goal of applying this cutting edge interdisciplinary approach combining expertise in analytical and environmental sciences, mathematical modeling, pharmacology, toxicology, clinical studies, social and health sciences and water engineering within epidemiological studies of societal health.

The project will train a new generation of researchers establishing monitoring methods based on the epidemiology of sewage. And so gain a head start in diagnosing and hence treating major public health issues, including disease outbreaks and our network will make a major contribution in this area.

International network

The network will link sixteen leading European institutions, with partners in a range of countries including: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, and the UK. A total of eleven Early Career Researchers and four Experienced Researchers will be recruited and trained in the network.
The Dutch team from KWR/UvA participating in this network includes Prof Pim de Voogt (IBED) and Erik Emke from the KWR Water Quality and Health group. The KWR/UvA team will develop high resolution accurate mass analytical methods to detect the occurrence of existing and new psychoactive substances in sewage water and will also compare the efficiency of different ionization techniques used in various types of high-resolution mass spectrometers. The generated data will serve for epidemiological purposes such as estimating drug use in communities.

Kick-off meeting

The network started in October 2012 and had its first training meeting hosted by the University of Bath in April 2013.  ‘This is a unique opportunity to make a consolidated effort that will bring maturity to the field of exploiting sewage analysis for the diagnosis of population’s drug use’, said Prof Pim de Voogt.

Go to the website of SEWPROF for further details