On May 12, 2020 the on-line course (MOOC) Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by University of Tartu finished successfully.
Eventually altogether 843 people registered (270 in 2014, 489 in 2015, 757 in 2016, 363 in 2017, 521 in 2018, 590 in 2019) from 95 countries (a number of participants joined after the start of the course). 600 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 464 successfully completed the course (141 in 2014, 169 in 2015, 308 in 2016, 148 in 2017, 358 in 2018, 238 in 2019). The overall completion rate was 55% (52% in 2014, 34% in 2015, 40% in 2016, 41% in 2017, 42% in 2018, 40% in 2019). The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 77% (67% in 2014, 60% in 2015, 67% in 2016, 68% in 2017, 61% in 2018, 62% in 2019). The completion rate this year is the best we have seen and can be considered excellent for a MOOC, especially one that has quite difficult calculation exercises, which need to be done correctly for completing the course.

The participants were very active and asked lots of questions. The questions were often very much to the point and addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. The course has several forums (general and by topic) and during the course period the overall number of forum posts was close to 600 (!) (overall number of posts, both from participants and from teachers) and the forums are still active and posts are still coming in.

This active participation made teaching of this MOOC a great experience also for us, the teachers. The discussion threads gave a lot of added value to the course and some of them triggered making important modifications to the course materials, even during the course.

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Spring 2021.

 

The UT Analytical Chemistry group is well known for its acid-base studies, especially pKa measurements, in non-aqueous media. Up to recent time the measured data have been scattered among a number of publications containing pKa measurements.

Now the pKa data of acids and bases in different solvents – acids in MeCN and 1,2-Dichloroethane; bases in THF, MeCN and 1,2-dichloroethane – are compiled into collections of experimental acidity and basicity data in non-aqueous media measured by the UT analytical chemistry group are now up to date on group’s webpage.

Both tables include the compounds name, CAS number and SMILES code. The acidity collection contains 190 compounds, where the compounds available experimentally measured pKa in acetonitrile (MeCN) and pKip in 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE) are given. The pKa in DCE is calculated/estimated based on pKip value.

The basicity data collection includes 353 compounds and their pKip in tetrahydrofuran (THF) and in DCE. The pKa values in MeCN were re-evaluated taking into account all (close to 700) measurements of 279 bases. Therefore, these pKa values can be considered the most reliable pKa values measured in MeCN available!

We welcome everybody to use the pKa values and propose other compounds for which pKa values should be measured.

 

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020 the web course Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis was launched the seventh time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course)!

Currently 828 participants from 92 countries are registered – the largest audience the course has ever had! As was the case in the previous years, the majority of participants are from analytical laboratories. This once again demonstrates the continuing need for training in measurement uncertainty estimation for practicing analytical chemists.

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 pass six graded tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. These tests are available to registered participants via the Moodle e-learning platform.

This course is run under the umbrella of the Estonian Center of Analytical chemistry (https://www.akki.ee/) and forms a part of the measurements and chemical analysis related master programmes at UT: Applied Measurement Science (https://ams.ut.ee/) and Excellence in Analytical Chemistry (https://www.analyticalchemistry.eu/).

 

The 2020 edition of the web course (MOOC) Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis will be running during Mar 24 – May 5, 2020. Registration is open for one week!

The full course material (as well as the registration link) 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) and examples. Almost all areas of analytical chemistry are addressed, ranging from simple titrations to sophisticated instrumental analysis, such as determining pesticide residues by LC-MS.

In order to pass the course, the registered participants have to take six graded tests and get higher than 50% score in every graded test. 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. A digital certificate of completion is free of charge. A certificate of completion on paper can be requested for a fee of 60 euros.

You are welcome to distribute this message to potentially interested people!

 

On Feb 14, 2020 our LC-MS Method Validation web course (MOOC) finished successfully!
Altogether 515 (426 in 2019, 424 in 2018, 303 in 2017) people were registered from 77 (70 in 2019, 71 in 2018, 61 in 2017) countries. 267 (227 in 2019, 236 in 2018, 224 in 2017) participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 161 (125 in 2019, 159 in 2018, 168 in 2017) successfully completed the course. The overall completion rate was 31% (29% in 2019, 37% in 2018, 55% in 2017). The completion rate of participants who actually started the studies was 60% (55% in 2019, 67% in 2018, 75% in 2017). It is pleasant to see that the completion rate of the of the course seems to be stabilizing (as opposed to the clearly negative trend observed last year) and in fact more than 50% completion rate of people who actually started the course can be considered very good by any measure.

As has been the usual case with our online courses, the questions from the participants were often very interesting, often addressed things that are really important to analysts in their everyday work. Such discussions made teaching this course a great experience also for us, the teachers!

We want to thank all participants for helping to make this course a success!

We plan to repeat this course again in Autumn-Winter 2020-2021.

Besides XRF, the two important topics at the 2020 Winter school were Capillary electrophoresis, coupled with mass spectrometry (CE-MS), taught by prof. Christian Neusüß, and practitioner’s view on working in a GMP/GLP compliant facility, taught by Dr. Masahiko Shimmo.

Although the current world of separation science is heavily dominated by chromatography (and mass spectrometry), CE (and CE-MS) does have its place and occasionally can provide separation selectivity and efficiency, which no chromatographic technique can match. This was explained by prof. Neusüß (photo on the left), using a number of practical examples.

In any GMP/GLP compliant facility – such as e.g. chemical and pharmaceutical plants – this compliance to a large extent determines the whole way of working and imposes several obligations on personnel. You can be a skillful chemist with very good knowledge and yet, if you do not respect the requirements your company is in trouble. Dr. Shimmo (photo on the right) explained the practical aspects on the example of his company – Cambrex Tallinn, a small biopharma company in Estonia.

The last educational activity of the Winter school was the session where student teams presented their findings from the Tuesday’s work with hand-held XRF spectrometers. Although measuring with these devices is seemingly straightforward, the physics behind is far form simple and, as was demonstrated during the session, quite some knowledge is needed to interpret the obtained results. (Photo on the left: Student team no 5 presenting their XRF results)

We hope that all participants enjoyed the Winter School and look forward to the next one, in Sweden, 2021!

On Jan 20, 2020, the fifth Winter School of the EACH programme started in Viimsi (Estonia). Altogether 35 students from more than 19 countries participate.
The Winter School offers a diverse set of activities to the participants. There are lectures-seminars on advanced analytical chemistry topics (industrial analysis, capillary electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, working in a GLP/GMP accredited faclity) by top experts, hands-on practical work and entertainment. The intense working is counterbalanced by social activities – swimmming pool, sauna, etc.
In the industry session on the first Winter school day Dr. Noémie Caillol from EACH associated partner Axel’One gave an overview of the specifics of industrial analysis and process control.

Traditionally an important activity in the Winter school is selecting first year students to study tracks. In order to give one more piece of information what the study tracks are about, there was a session of presentations on the first day by second year students on their master thesis topics (photo on the right). All the students were assigned to study tracks and it was possible to assign all of them to their first study track choice!

An exciting session in the Winter school is “X-Ray Fluorescence lab” featuring portable XRF spectrometers (photo bottom left). Students have three different spectrometers with which they have to solve three different tasks, related to toxic element content in electronic waste, archaeological artifacts and elemental composition of minerals. The session is led by experts from UT (Dr Riho Mõtlep and Dr Ragnar Saage) and the associated EACH partner Estonian Environmental Research Centre (Dr Riin Rebane).

Photos: Group photo (top left); Helmi and João presenting why the Åbo/Turku study track is worth considering (right); Dr Riho Mõtlep explaining the portable XRF practicalities in the hands-on XRF session (bottom left).

Over the summer of 2019, the third intake of EACH students successfully graduated from the programme (defence at UU, defence at AAU, defence at UCBL ).

Only a few months later the majority of the recent graduates – 13 out of 18 in total – have engaged themselves with new challenges and are pursuing their careers in either the world of work or academic field.

Below is a retrospective from some of our most recent graduates:

Diana Visanu (UU study-track), currently working at the R&D department of Camurus – a Swedish pharmaceutical company:

The EACH programme has been a wonderful learning experience all around and has provided me with all the necessary skills to kick-start my career. The selection of courses offers a very good balance between practical work and in-depth theory (the LC-MS course taught at the University of Tartu has been particularly useful for me), which provides graduates with an attractive and well-rounded candidate profile resulting in excellent employment prospects in the industry, as well as a great foundation to build upon should they choose to pursue a PhD. In my opinion, one of the great advantages of the EACH programme is the great variety of competences that it offers. As an EACH student, you get a very solid general analytical chemistry and metrology foundation at the University of Tartu and then, for your second year, you have the opportunity to choose between three excellent study tracks in three different countries based on your interests and career goals. The EACH programme has also given me invaluable opportunities to develop my soft skills, experience different cultures and make friends from all over the world.

I was able to find a job in R&D at Camurus, a rapidly growing Swedish pharmaceutical company, within 2 months of graduating from the EACH programme. I can say with confidence that the practical and theoretical skills acquired during my master’s studies have allowed me to successfully take on my current tasks in running bioanalytical and pharmaceutical analyses, as well as in method development and qualification.

Nikola Obradovic (AAU study-track), currently a PhD student at ETH Zürich, Switzerland:

Acknowledging it’s clever abbreviation, EACH, thisNikola Obradovic master’s programme is more suited to be called UNIQUE. Unique in many ways. The EACH journey starts at the University of Tartu, a sanctum of knowledge since 1632. To this day, I consider this university to be one of the most student friendly educational institutions I’ve ever come across. The curriculum, which is constantly following the developments of analytical chemistry worldwide, is very involving and diverse. Through many independent and team-based assignments, which are taught by leading experts in the field and are often of case study type, the EACH student gets all the desired tools of the analytical chemistry craft that our modern world requires. And, by shifting the narrative from hardcore to a more socially involved science, this programme educates the future leaders in the field, with comprehensive professional networks. What is more, the second year of the EACH programme is dedicated to the student’s desired future “specialization”, pursued at three revered European universities. But, this is not to be confused with narrowing the scope of someone’s knowledge. On the contrary. It just boosts the EACH student’s grasp of an already diverse field of analytical techniques, from simple optical spectroscopy and electrochemistry, to more advanced techniques such as liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry and biosensors.

The hardest piece of evidence I can offer to support these claims is my own story. For my second EACH year, I decided to dig deep into the world of applied electrochemistry and electrochemical sensors at Åbo Akademi University. And, even before graduating from EACH, I was offered to do a PhD in the field of Redox Biogeochemistry at one of the most prestigious universities in the world – ETH Zürich. Today, I could not imagine my work without being fully operational in using different analytical techniques, which I greatly owe to the EACH programme.

Daniela Alejandra Pinto Perez (UCBL study-track), currently working as a Consulting Engineer at B-Hive engineering, France:

Daniela Pinto

The EACH program was an amazing experience for me, as it broadened my horizon professionally and personally. The last two years I studied and worked with people from all over the world. This cultural diversity made me a more open-minded person, it broadened my point of view and improved my communication skills. It was very enriching traveling and meeting new people.

As part of this master I got specific knowledge of metrology, industrial analysis and quality systems. I developed several soft skills, like project and time management, creativity and problem solving; skills that I am sure will contribute to my professional growth. I also had the opportunity to learn French at university (basic level in Tartu, intermediate in Lyon); it was not easy in the beginning, but all the effort worth it.

All this helped me to get a job in France as Consulting Engineer at B-Hive engineering, and I am currently working in a project at Elanco, a pharmaceutical laboratory.

The study track of this program made me a versatile professional, allowing me to work in different areas, such as Analytical Service, Quality Control, Quality Assurance and production.

Daniel Papp (UU study-track), currently a PhD student at Lund University, Sweden:

EACH contributed to my career in two main ways. First, many doors opened for me, I have acquired a quite wide network across the world consisting of former classmates, project groupmates or teachers. This is a very big advantage when looking for positions. The other big contribution is equipping me with that specific knowledge which is usually left out from the curricula of “normal” analytical chemistry courses, for example, metrology aspects of chemical analysis. This is something that many people do not know, but is still highly demanded if we want to perform an analysis correctly.

We wish all the graduates of the EACH programme all the best!

On Tuesday, November 26, 2019 the web course LC-MS Method Validation was launched for the fourth time as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). There are 511 registered participants (the largest number ever in this course) from 77 countries, ranging from Guatemala to Azerbaijan and from Finland to Sudan. Image on the left shows the countries where the participants come from.

This is a practice-oriented on-line course on validation of analytical methods, specifically using LC-MS as technique. The course introduces the main concepts and mathematical apparatus of validation, covers the most important method performance parameters and ways of estimating them. The LC-MS validation course is delivered by a team of 8 teachers, each with their own specific area of competence. This way it is expected to offer the best possible knowledge in all the different subtopics of analytical method validation.

The full set of course materials is accessible from the web page https://sisu.ut.ee/lcms_method_validation/. The course materials include videos, schemes, calculation files and numerous self-tests (among them also full-fledged calculation exercises). In order to pass the course the registered participants have to take all tests and get higher than 50% score from each of them. 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.

 

EACH_Erasmus_Mundus_JMDWe are glad to announce that the 2020 admission is officially open to the 6th intake of the Excellence in Analytical Chemistry (EACH) Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree programme!

This international two-year joint master degree programme educates specialists in analytical chemistry well qualified to work in industry (food, pharmaceutical, materials, energy, etc), chemical analysis laboratories (environment, food, health, etc) and research (developing new analysis devices or new analysis methods) 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 features generous scholarships as detailed in the Scholarships and tuition fees page.

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.

We wish you all the success in applying!