The educational section of a leading analytical chemistry journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, the ABCs of Education and Professional Development in Analytical Science has published a paper about the EACH programme: EACH (Excellence in Analytical Chemistry), an Erasmus Mundus Joint Programme: progress and success (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-019-01988-8). The paper gives a comprehensive overview about the programme, including a detailed overview of the topics taught in the different study-tracks, extra activities, such as internship and winter school, but also, why is it necessary to have such a programme like EACH, and how to be a part of the EACH experience.

 

Impact of EACH – map of countries where EACH students of intakes 2015-2018 are coming from

The paper also has a section about the impact of the EACH programme – with the four years that the programme has accepted students, it has reached a lot of countries and the employability rate of the graduates is very high.

 

In September this year, the fifth intake of EACH students will start their studies and we are very happy to welcome each and every one of them to our programme!

Marko Bertic, an EACH graduate from intake 2016 reflects on life in Lyon:

Immediately after arriving in France, I realized that all the classes I took in Tartu would be used in one way or another. Already on the first day, the French administration showed its true face. Only for entering the dorm room, it was necessary to go to at least three different offices to fill out some forms (all the forms are conversations were in French). This trend continued through the whole year I spent in Lyon.
After some days of adaptation to a new environment, I started discovering the city and right away fell in love with its architecture, cafes and its position between 2 rivers, Rhône and Saone. Moreover, having a croissant or a pain au chocolate (chocolatine, if you wish – this is real issue in France how you call it) with coffee and a lot of cheese for other meals made me forget about all the drawbacks of administration and language limitations.

Geographical position of Lyon is great as well. It is only 2 hours from Paris and Marseille by a high-speed train TGV and 2 hours by bus to Genève in Switzerland.

Living in the student dormitory had its advantages since I needed about 5 min walking to the lectures, and yes, in France lectures are OBLIGATORY. Even though because sometimes on the lectures there were only a few international students and some professors were forgetting to speak and teach in English. It was rather a constant battle. Apart from the obligatory lectures, there were no midterm exams in general. Because of this, all the final exams were squeezed in one week (that’s right, approximately 1-2 exams per day).

Second semester gave me a great opportunity to do a 6 months’ internship in French company in industry. For me this was the best part of choosing France as a second year country. Furthermore, we were paid for this period (another positive of this study track). Working in the company was again a challenge since not all the people there spoke English, so our French skills came to the fore one more time. This period of about 1 year made us integrate into the French society and I can say for sure we are all at least 20 % French now.

À bientôt

UT_Students_at_the _MSC_Summer_School_2019On Saturday 20.07.2019 The MSC Euromaster Summer School 2019 (Lyon, France) finished. It was the 12th summer school of the Measurement Science in Chemistry consortium.

The hallmark of the MSC Summer schools is “learning by doing” and combining learning with fun, meeting new people and sharing experience. The feedback from the Tartu participants is below and it indicates that organizing these Summer schools it is worth the effort!

Larissa_Maciel_working_on_the_Project_in_MSC_Summer_School_2019

 

 

Larissa Silva Maciel:
The summer school exceeded all my expectations! Apart from getting a real-life problem in the laboratory, we were able to learn more about the standard ISO17025 and also practice our abilities on auditing. Additionally, we were in touch with many nationalities and were able to work in a multicultural team. I will always remember this experience!

Dariya_Tukhmetova_at_MSC_Summer_School_2019

 

Dariya Tukhmetova:
I highly recommend the summer school for future participants. No matter student of specialist, everyone can get new knowledge/skill from the summer school. Moreover, meeting new friends and sharing experience is very valuable. The school’s content covers major aspects of the measurement process in chemical lab: developing and validating testing procedure, calculating uncertainty, complying with standard. Also, it improves soft skills (communication, team building, conflict solving, time management, team leading)

Marvy_Girgis_at_Chamonix_MSC_Summer_School_2019

 

Marvy Girgis:
Although the summer school has finished, the memories, experience and skills that I have acquired will last years to come. After having theoretical lectures about accreditation, metrology and method validation , I put this experience into practice through developing a method in the lab, validating it and calculating the uncertainty of measurement to meet certain customer requirements together with my team. Also, I have learned a lot about ISO 17025:2017 in addition to visiting an accredited lab in Lyon. It wasn’t about the result but more about the process and how to do it. Moreover, meeting people from different countries and cultures was really invaluable and I had so much fun with all of them. In short, I am really grateful that I have participated in this school and certainly recommend it for anyone studying or working in the field of chemical analysis.

 

Nhung_Dang_Thi_Hong_at_MSC_Summer_School_2019

Nhung Dang Thi Hong:
Summer school is of my best experiences in Europe. It is stressful and enjoyable at the same time. The school is a great place to learn and practice metrology in chemistry, ISO standard. Also, the practical laboratory project is a highlight of the school, in which you apply the knowledge you have learnt to the “real-life” situation.
You probably would feel overwhelming at first because of an intense schedule full of lectures, group work, online tasks, lab work and reports. But you don’t need to face it all by yourself; you will be in a group with people from different background, experience and culture. And believe me, in every single task, you can always find the happiness and memorable moments. (On the photo: Nhung, sitting in the middle, with her team-mates)

Jeewan_Babu_Rijal_at_Chamonix_MSC_Summer_School_2019

 

Jeewan Babu Rijal:
The summer school started with a reception which was very welcoming and we get to know each other, all the professors and students from different Universities and also analytical chemists from different countries all had lot many things to share and we had lot many things to learn.
Summer School is more about learning and applying the learning in “the analytical game”. It can be stressful sometimes but you need to learn to find fun while doing your work. The creation of a virtual lab, developing a method, validating, analyzing a given sample, calculating uncertainties measuring all the required data for it by yourself and participating in Proficiency Testing was challenging but a great experience. In addition, ISO 17025 was also explained in detail in the e-course which goes along the group work. We also learned about auditing a lab and then visited water analyzing lab in Lyon where we tried to see how is it done by doing ourself. But it was not just about stress, the visit to the Mont Blanc and get at the top of Europe was an amazing experience. The view from there was overwhelming. The summer school closing party was an awesome moment which will make us nostalgic for a long period of time.

 

Starting from July 07, 2019 the MSC Summer School 2019 is taking place in Lyon (France), organized by the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1.

Five students from the University of Tartu take part in the summer school: Dariya Tukhmetova (Kazakhstan), Jeewan Babu Rijal (Nepal), Nhung Dang Thi Hong (Vietnam), Larissa Silva Maciel (Brazil) and Marvy Girgis (Egypt).

As in previous years, a core aim of the Summer school is teaching measurement science (metrology) topics related to analytical chemistry using active learning (“learning by doing”) approaches, as far as possible. Thus, efforts are made for increasing the share of discussions, hands-on work, teamwork. A key activity of the summer school is the contest of student teams (setting up virtual laboratories and interacting with customers), which tests their knowledge and skills in all areas of metrology in chemistry. This time the task is determining caffeine content in a cotton patch using UV-Vis spectrophotometry.

As always, serious studies and work are intermixed with fun. On Friday the whole group visited Chamonix and took the cable car to the top of Aiguille du Midi mountain (3842 meter height). Unforgettable experience for the participants!

We wish all the participants successful continuation of the summer school!

(Photo on the left by Dariya Tukhmetova: Dariya, Jeewan, Nhung, Larissa and Marvy at the Summer school; photo on the right by Marvy Girgis: UT participants in Chamonix)

 

 

 

EACH students from Intake 2018 have just finished their first study-year at the University of Tartu and are preparing for their departure to their second-year universities.

 

 

Before they leave Estonia, they have put together a video about their experience at Tartu:

 

Thank you, Mark, Marvy, Varun, Marcos, Zen, Jocelyn, Bhawana, Estida, Rady, Jeewan, Nhung, Evelyn, Çığdem, Dariya, Larissa, Hark, Aizhan, Kim, and Helmi!

 

All the best to all of you for your next study-year!

 

On June 10, 2019 the master thesis defence of the third cohort of the EACH programme took place at Uppsala University! Angelique Sanchez Dafun, Diana Visanu, Allen Jun Penez Anies, Mohan Ghorasaini, Shidong Chen, Fadillah Putri Patria and Daniel Papp successfully defended their master’s theses.

Congratulations to all of you!

The topics of the theses embraced a wide area of modern biomed- and environmental analytical problems – LC-MS analysis marine biotoxins in mussels, determining of triacylglyceride regioisomers in rat liver; isotope exchange and supercharging techniques in MS etc. All of them featured the use of highly sophisticated analytical instrumentation, such as UPLC, UPC2, different designs of mass spectrometers, etc. This choice of topics is largely directed by the world-famous biomedical analysis research direction at Uppsala University led by prof. Jonas Bergquist.

The average quality level of the theses was found to be very high by the defence committee members.

(On photo from left: Allen, Daniel, Angelique, Ivo, Fadillah, Diana, Shidong, Mohan, Jonas)

 

David_Thompson_Lecturing_Tartu_2019During May 18-22, 2019 the EACH programme again had the pleasure of hosting visiting scholar, Dr. David F. Thompson from the Keele University (UK). He conducted an intensive course Introduction to Forensic Analysis.

This lecture series started with some basic forensic principles that underpin the use of analytical chemistry in the court room. It then developed to cover key biological samples that can be encountered in a forensic investigation along with their specific uses and pre-cautions that need to be taken during collection, storage, analysis and reporting of these sample types. A significant amount of time was devoted to understanding the ethical considerations around forensic analysis and how other regulation can affect an investigation.

David_Thompson_Interpreting_Fingerprints_with_Students_Tartu_2019An exciting part of the course was a practical session on the analysis of fingerprints. Dr Thompson first explained the basics of fingerprint analysis, the classification of the patterns and the different levels of detail. He also had fingerprint swabs and fingerprint forms with him. Every student had the possibility to take his/her fingerprints and analyse them for the typical patterns.

Altogether 28 students (out of them 10 EACH students) participated in the course and their feedback was very positive.

Dr Thompson also participated in the Eurachem 2019 Workshop “Validation of targeted and non-targeted methods of analysis” (this year organised by UT in Tartu) where his presentation focused on some future directions in food fraud detection using metabonomic profiling.

Dr. Thompson is the Forensic Science Programme Director at Keele and the module leader for the Forensic Toxicology, Drugs of Abuse and the final year project elements of the course. He also directs a research group that is focused on food fraud research using metabonomics.

(Photo up left: Dr. Thompson teaching the class; Photo on the right: Dr. Thompson examining fingerprints with students; Photo down left: Group photo with the participants)

 

During May 20-21, 2019 the Eurachem 2019 Scientific workshop Validation of targeted and non-targeted methods of analysis took place in Dorpat Conference Centre in Tartu. This workshop also marks the 30th anniversary of Eurachem. This workshop is the first event in the EACH “Data Quality in Analytical Chemistry” conference series.

Approximately 160 people attended the workshop, which is the largest number of participants in the history of Eurachem workshops! The participants were from 42 countries of the member countries in Eurachem as well as Asia, North America, South America and Middle East. The farthest participants were from Fiji, the Philippines, Uruguay and Brazil.

The workshop was held with 13 oral presentations from established researchers, young scientists as well as industries. Together with 22 posters all presentations reflected the current and potential future developments related to methods validation. The workshop addressed the current status of analytical method validation in general and specifically validation of the non-targeted methods (i.e. ones where the analyte is not defined beforehand). With the speaker permissions, all presentations will shortly be available at the Eurachem website. In addition to presentations, each day a Working Group session was organised with 3 topics in parallel (Image on the left: Welcome by Dr Marina Patriarca, the Eurachem chair).

Non-targeted methods are an especially noteworthy part of the programme, because their validation involves specific issues and their validation is significantly less developed than validation of targeted methods (i.e. the “normal” analytical methods, where the analyte is known beforehand). At the same time non-targeted methods are becoming increasingly important in environmental protection, food safety, different omics areas, etc. (Image on the right: Prof. Jon Benskin from Stockholm University presenting an introduction to non-targeted analysis)

All sessions raised new issues and challenges, especially related to non-target method validation. The workshop clearly was also very inspirational for Eurachem from the point of view of preparing new guideline materials – especially the topics related to non-targeted analysis are still essentially not covered by official guidance documents.

Some example topics of the workshop: Validation of targeted methods: where are we? Validation of non-targeted methods – differences from targeted methods. Detection of a multitude of (unknown) components in complex samples: criteria for identification. Managing the huge amounts of complex data from non-targeted methods. Recent instrumental developments. Software tools for validation. (Image on the left: Dr. Koit Herodes presenting the ValChrom validation software)

The workshop certaily had a significant educational value and we are pleased by the large number of student participants: altogether close to 50! The international master’s programmes Excellence in Analytical Chemistry and Applied Measurement Science were both heavily represented: the majority of students of those programmes participated in the workshop (Image on the left: EACH and AMS students at the workshop).

The workshop was jointly organized by Eurachem and ECAC (University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology and the Estonian Environmental Research Centre).

 

Anu, Signe, Pilleriin, Eliise

From 7th to 10th of May 2019 four members of UT Analytical Chemistry group – Dr Signe Vahur, Dr Anu Teearu-Ojakäär, PhD students Pilleriin Peets and Eliise Tammekivi – attended the 7th international TechnArt conference in Bruges, Belgium. TechnArt is a place to present and discuss the newest results of the usage of analytical techniques in the field of cultural heritage. It is the biggest conference among its kind as it was also seen in TechnArt 2019, where the number of participants was over 400! The conference included three parallel oral presentation sessions, two poster sessions with almost 300 posters, a visit and dinner at the Halve Maan Brewery and an excursion with a boat trip in the historical city center of Bruges, that has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage.

 

Some of the most interesting talks included the presentation by Dr Abbie Vandivere from The Hague about the

Photo: Signe Vahur

Anu presenting her poster

analysis of the painting Girl with a Pearl Earring (Johannes Vermeer, approx. 1665) and the difficult conservation of the remains of the warship Mary Rose (warship of the English navy under the command of King Henry VIII, sank in 1545) by Dr Eleanor Schofield from the Mary Rose Trust/Imperial College. Another interesting topic was addressed by Dr. Lucia Toniolo who gave a talk on the conservation and monitoring issues of historical architecture, also addressing the hazard of climate change. However, with four days and three parallel oral sessions filled with presentations by the top scientists and conservators of the world, it is almost impossible to highlight all of the interesting and inspiring talks.

 

Photo: Signe Vahur

Pilleriin presenting her poster

What is also noteworthy, TechnArt 2019 was the conference, where the attendance by the Cultural Heritage group (working in UT Chair of  Analytical Chemistry) members was the highest! Anu presented her poster „Analysis of resinous materials“, where ATR-FT-IR, SEM-EDS, GC-MS and ESI-FT-ICR-MS methods were combined for the analysis of the embalming materials obtained from two human mummies originating from Egypt

Photo: Pilleriin Peets

Eliise presenting her poster

and now exhibited at the University of Tartu Art Museum. Pilleriin presented her poster „Attenuated total reflectance and reflectance approaches for analysis of textile fibers with FT-IR spectroscopy“. This study showed, that both mentioned approaches are suitable and very useful methods for the identification of natural and synthetic fibers. Eliise presented her poster „Comparison of derivatization methods for the quantitative gas chromatographic analysis of oils“ where four widely used derivatization methods for the analysis of heritage samples were compared on the basis of absolute quantification.

 

Overall, TechnArt 2019 gave the members of our Cultural Heritage group the possibility to introduce their scientific work results, hear the inspiring lectures and have fruitful discussions in the magical historic city of Bruges.

Photo: Pilleriin Peets

Measurement_Uncertainty_MOOC_Successfully_FinishedOn May 14, 2019 the on-line course (MOOC) Estimation of measurement uncertainty in chemical analysis offered by University of Tartu finished successfully.
Eventually altogether 590 people registered (270 in 2014, 489 in 2015, 757 in 2016, 363 in 2017, 521 in 2018) from 86 countries (a number of participants joined after the start of the course). 381 participants actually started the course (i.e. tried at least one graded test at least once) and out of them 238 successfully completed the course (141 in 2014, 169 in 2015, 308 in 2016, 148 in 2017, 358 in 2018). The overall completion rate was 40% (52% in 2014, 34% in 2015, 40% in 2016, 41% in 2017, 42% in 2018). The completion rate of participants who started the studies was 62% (67% in 2014, 60% in 2015, 67% in 2016, 68% in 2017, 61% in 2018). The completion rates are consistent over the last years and can be considered very good 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 the overall number of posts to them during the course period exceeded 400 (!) (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 2020.