Continuing Education

The Ecotox Centre is engaged in practice-oriented continuing education and training in the field of ecotoxicology with the goal of passing on expert knowledge and thus imparting professional skills. Selected courses are held in collaboration with the new Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology (SCAHT).

The further education courses are primarily intended for experts from administration, practice, research and industry. Every year, the Ecotox Centre offers a basic course on ecotoxicology and an application course and/or course on the impact on natural systems. Moreover, ad hoc workshops are held where the results of completed projects are presented and current topics are discussed.

In addition, the Ecotox Centre participates in education courses at university level and contributes its expertise in the field of applied ecotoxicology wherever needed. Teaching is done in close collaboration with ETH Zurich, EPF Lausanne, universities and technical colleges.

Course programme 


Evaluation of ecotoxicological sediment quality

14./15. November 2019, in German and French, in Olten, course fee 550 CHF
Course management: Carmen Casado-Martinez

Sediments form an important and complex part of aquatic ecosystems. On the one hand, they are the place where many species live or reproduce. On the other hand, sediments can bind and store pollutants and, by releasing them, become a source of continuous and long-term pollution of surface waters. The law specifies that the accumulation of pollutants in sediments must be avoided to protect aquatic organisms. Sediment monitoring programmes in Switzerland are mainly based on the chemical analysis of known pollutants, but the system has shortcomings and is not implemented in a homogeneous way. The objective of this course is to provide participants with a basic knowledge of sediment functioning and the necessary knowledge to assess sediment quality based on ecotoxicological characteristics. After an introduction to sediments, the focus of the course will be on various tools used for sediment characterisation: sampling, physico-chemical properties, chemical quality criteria, toxicity tests and biological indices that can be used in Switzerland. The last part of the course will deal with risk assessment and its application in various case studies. 

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Microplastic in the environment

16./17. June 2020, in German, in Dübendorf, course fee 550 CHF
Course management: Alexandra Kroll, Lothar Aicher


Microplastic particles are regularly detected in the environment worldwide. Nevertheless, we still know little about their effects on ecosystems and on human health. The detection of microplastics in food is of direct relevance to humans.

The course gives an overview of the sources, detection methods, occurrences and effects of microplastics. The difficulties in all these areas due to material properties will be highlighted and critically discussed with course participants and speakers. Risk assessment approaches will be presented as well as the current knowledge on the (targeted) degradation and retention in wastewater treatment plants. Specifically, the environmental concentrations of microplastics in Switzerland and the risk for humans and the environment are discussed.

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Biomarkers for measuring pollutant effects on aquatic organisms

27. October 2020, in German, in Dübendorf, course fee 300 CHF
Course management: Anne-Sophie Voisin

Biomarkers make it possible to measure the effects of pollutants and other stressors on organisms. In environmental monitoring, they can provide important information for assessing the environmental quality.  The course aims to give an overview of the currently available biomarkers, the possibilities for their application and an outlook on future developments in this field.  

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Brigitte Bracken
Brigitte Bracken Send mail Tel. +41 (0) 58 765 5562