Focus groups

Focus Group in Cyprus

A focus group aiming at a close examination of sustainable best practices applied in environmental testing laboratories was held on the 19th of May at the University of Cyprus premises, by Nireas-Internatiaonal Water Research Center (Nireas-IWRC).

The focus group was held in the framework of the European Erasmus+ project, ECVET-Lab. There were 26 participants from various organisations all over Cyprus, ranging from governmental departments such as the Water Development Department, to private laboratories providing services to customers dealing with environmental testing.

Initially, presentations regarding the aims of the project, a literature review on environmental best practices found in environmental testing laboratories as well as an overview of the questionnaire survey previously conducted, were given. Next, the focus group discussion took place in a round-table format, to allow all participants to feel free to express their opinions on the best laboratory practices being discussed.

The main findings of the focus group discussion were focused on the importance of various laboratory work aspects such as: the training of new and existing laboratory staff, the direct availability of the material safety data sheets (mSDS) and health and safety guidelines to all staff, the responsible chemical and waste management, the laboratory design and construction, water and energy consumption, noise and air pollution as well as environmental management.

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Focus Group in Spain

 The Best environmental practices in laboratories focus group took place on June 9th at the NH Ciudad de Valencia Hotel. The event gave the opportunity to researchers, teachers, environmental technicians and institutional representatives to share, discuss and debate different good environmental practices applied to laboratories.The focus gruop was opened by Mario Sánchez Brox, representative of Fundación Equipo Humano; he was followed by Isabel Domínguez, environmental consultant of NOVOTEC, who dedicated her intervention to the objectives, phases and expected results of ECVET-Lab.

Throughout the first part of the morning, representatives of different entities and companies, such as AIDIMME, IPROMA, Audiotec and Laboratorios Tecnológicos de Levante, shared their experiences regarding good environmental practices.

The second part of the morning was attended by the environmental managers of different universities of the region, such as the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), the Universitat de València (UV), the Universitat Jaume I (UJI) and the Miguel Hernández University (UMH). Representatives of different vocational training centres also shared their experiences regarding the degrees they offer in the areas of Quality Analysis and Control and Environmental Health.

Finally, the debate was presided over by Alfonso Cadenas, from Fundación Equipo Humano. The event was concluded by NOVOTEC environmental consultants, Isabel Domínguez and Silvia Pascual.

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Focus Group in Poland

 The meeting of the Focus Group in Poland was held on June 14, 2017. The group meet at Institute for Sustainable Technologies – National Research Institute in Radom . The participants were over 30 representatives of universities, VET schools, research units, students, experts from participating laboratories. At the beginning of the meeting the idea of the ECVET-lab project was presented. Later the project coordinator presented the best practices from the environmental laboratories which were collected in Poland. Very interesting point was speech external experts from University of Environmental Sciences and Technical University in Radom. They were presented the own experience from environmental issues in laboratories. They reminded that Environmental Testing Laboratory operations have significant environmental impact. Experience shows in many cases that this impact could be reduced or avoided in cost-effective ways without compromising safety and they can often be enhanced. Most laboratories, especially smaller ones, do not have staff dedicated specifically to environmental management. The common discussion was very fruitful. All participants underlined the benefits for target groups appeared from participation in ECVET – Lab project. They agreed that the project addressed to develop environmental skills for workers in laboratories is needed. The exchange of knowledge and practical experience among laboratories from different European countries will be very positive for defining the best practices applicable to the sector and promoting their implementation. The ECVET-Lab training course should be achieved mainstreaming in formal VET.