Integrated assessment of new pollutants | JPI OCEANS

Integrated assessment of new pollutants

Joint Action Facts
Action period: January 2019 - December 2020
Strategic area:
  • Interdisciplinary Research for Good Environmental Status
Type of action:
  • Knowledge hub
Lead countries:
  • Norway
  • Spain
More Information
Secretariat Contact:
Tel. +32 (0) 2626 16 70



Coordinator: Dr. Adam Lillicrap

The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Norway

Co-coordinator: Dr. Ioanna Katsiadaki

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), UK

The knowledge hub on integrated assessment of new pollutants is a network consisting of selected experts from JPI member countries. It will look into the need to improve the methodological basis for marine chemical status assessment, e.g. by focusing on increasing the efficiency of integrated assessment methodologies.

Each participating country is responsible for nomination and funding (in-kind and/or cash) of experts that join the network. The hub will meet four times over a period of 24 months. The key milestones are:

  • Kick-off meeting in January 2019 (agenda under 'Related docs')
  • Three more meetings of experts: two during 2019 and one in the first quarter of 2020
  • Draft report from the knowledge hub to be presented to the Steering Committee in April 2020
  • Final report to be produced by December 2020


Actions of the knowledge HUB

The following is a list of activities of the JPI Oceans Knowledge Hub which will be carried out to the extent required to reach the objectives of the knowledge HUB.

Identification of integrated assessment methodology

The first major task of the knowledge hub will be to identify, from literature and known case studies, the most appropriate integrated assessment methodology(-ies) present today for the purpose of testing. In selecting methodology(-ies), the factors determining their compatibility with regulatory context(s), or their potential other benefits/costs, will be discussed.

Definition of input data to be applied in the integrated assessment methodology

The next major task for the knowledge hub will be to identify necessary input data and their sources to be able to run the integrated assessment methodologies.

Identify key users of the integrated assessment methodology

The knowledge hub will identify and establish contact with the potential users of the methodology and the output thereof and aim at their involvement at useful stages during the work of the knowledge hub.

Identify test sites/regions

Identify test sites/regions (geographical spread) for the purpose of implementing the test scheme of the methodologies. Focus on transitional waters for chemicals as this is where effects are anticipated but currently not covered either under WFD or MSFD.

Identify refinement needs of the integrated assessment methodologies

The report should provide an overview of refinement needs of the integrated assessment methodologies.

Common definitions and terminology

The report should provide an overview of common definitions and terminology.

Recommendations for further work

  • Provide recommendations for further actions on integrated assessments, specifying which actions JPI Oceans may take a leading position.
  • JPI Oceans to provide a repository for sharing documents.
  • Provide specific recommendations to the JPI Oceans activity on cumulative effects.
  • Provide better/more reliable EQs values (one of the main recommendations during the recent meeting in Vigo of the MSFD Expert Network).

Publication of policy brief

The Knowledge Hub on Integrated Assessment of New Pollutants published a policy brief on contaminants of emerging concern on Friday 25 June 2021. Under the auspices of JPI Oceans a group of experts recommend improvements of the methodological basis for marine chemical status assessment.


As an outcome of this information exchange, the JPI Oceans Knowledge Hub will generate a report presenting the currently most appropriate methodology(-ies) for integrated assessments of effects of new pollutants, taking account of the above rationale for a knowledge hub. Further an overview of relevant improvements and refinements of existing methodology(-ies) will be given. This includes also research found necessary for improved effect/hazard studies, monitoring and sampling on the level of new and emerging pollutants. It is anticipated that a set of political, economic and social dimensions will be included as the source and impact of pollutants are utterly linked with society. The report should provide specific recommendations on actions that can be initiated by JPI Oceans.


JPI Oceans intends to mobilise scientific critical mass to address this challenge, by:
  • Finding appropriate scientific critical evaluators for coordination work of the joint action;
  • Improving the exchange of ongoing activities on ecotoxicological research with monitoring institutions;
  • Building human and technical capacity in ecotoxicological research;
  • Providing a platform for dialogue among scientists to address the question of efficiency of possible integrated methods in view of their more widespread application
  • Contribute so that the resulting scientific conclusions are used by environmental authorities, finally leading to adjustment of their monitoring activities.


The Water and Marine Strategy Framework Directives (WFD and MSFD) have established mechanisms to evaluate ‘chemical quality’ such as Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) for chemical hazardous substances. The ‘substance by substance’ approach of EQS requires a sound basis in relevant ecotoxicological data. However, even for known contaminants, sometimes assessment is very onerous due to e.g. the need to compare with very low limit values (which are based on known ecotoxicological information but also reflect uncertainty factors introduced as a safety when there is an absence of good ecotoxicological data, which is the case for marine biota).This means that a significant part of monitoring efforts is already so expensive that it often puts a break on any prospects of extending or redirecting the scope of routine monitoring. As a result, the current monitoring approaches may not address the total risk from chemical substances in a balanced way.

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