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MetTrans (“Metal Transport in the Environment”) is a four-year Marie Curie Initial Training Network of leading European research groups in both academic and industrial institutions, which addresses outstanding issues in the migration of metals in the environment.

The Network provides young scientists with high quality personalised training in both research and complementary skills. There are 13 research work plans in the MetTrans network: each includes a single research project led by a PhD student (early-stage researcher - ESR) or by a post-doctoral fellow (experienced researcher - ER).

MetTrans is a €3.5 million project funded by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme. The project started on February 1, 2012, and will run until January 31, 2016.

Overall description of MetTrans[edit]

Understanding the processes that control the transport of metals is essential for a wide range of fields, including environmental protection and remediation, mineral resources, and climate change.

Through recent analytical developments, it is now possible to use natural variations in metal isotopes to obtain new information on how metal behavior in natural waters is controlled by interactions with mineral surfaces, by biological activity, and by release during mineral weathering. This will significantly advancing our understanding of the transport of both natural and contaminant metals Trans research will address a diversity of metal transport research questions using shared analytical, experimental, and theoretical approaches. This provides a platform for training young scientists in using of isotopic methods, understanding metal behaviour, and utilizing skills broadly.

The Network focuses on providing training on analytical skills, on understanding fundamental principles, and on modelling, and exposes young scientists to a wide range of opportunities for applying this training in research and industry.

MetTrans research projects[edit]

Objective: to utilize isotopic techniques to understand the changes in weathering processes due to use of nitrate fertilizers.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisations: Landsvirkjun Sameignarfelag - University of Iceland for the first 18 months, University of Durham for the last 18 months.

Objective: to use isotope measurements and lab experiments to examine the sources of platinum group elements in the environment.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: University of Durham.

Objective: to evaluate the impact of dams, and more broadly changes in local hydrology and land use, on the release and transport of metals.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: Landsvirkjun Sameignarfelag - University of Iceland.

4. Tracing sulphide weathering using the DGT technique
Objective: to further develop the DGT technique for wide use as a species separation technique and examine the release of metals under acid conditions.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: ALS Scandinavia AB.

Objective: to study the incorporation of metals in a mineral that may control metal behaviour in a wide range of environments.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: CNRS.

  • 6. Tracing metal-CO2(aq)-solid interactions from deep sources to shallow aquifers

Objective: to study the capacity of aquifers to supply metals and metalloids from reactions with CO2-bearing fluids.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: Amphos 21 Consulting SL.

Objective: to examine how microbes interact with metals, and the isotopic signatures that are generated to identify this.
2-year post-doctoral fellowship. Host organisation: University of Oxford.

  • 8. The control of Cr and U mobility by redox processes in natural waters

Objective: to examine the isotopic signatures of inorganic processes involving various minerals.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: University of Oxford.

Objective: to utilize metal isotope variations to understand metal transport in organic-rich anoxic environments, with implications for petroleum generation.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: University of Oxford.

  • 10. Trace metal transport across suboxic zones

Objective: to utilize metal isotopes to quantify metal cycling across redox boundaries, which controls metal behaviour in surface waters as well as within sediments and aquifers.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: Lulea University of Technology.

Objective: to develop approaches to using transport rate information obtained from radionuclides for metal and actinide transport modelling.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company.

  • 12. Changes in river transport of Fe and other metals due to permafrost thawing

Objective: to assess the impact of permafrost thawing due to climate change on the transport of metals into rivers and to the ocean basins.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: Swedish Museum of Natural History.

  • 13. Using radioactive elements in naturally-occurring materials to trace dispersion in the environment

Objective: to develop techniques for using naturally-occurring radionuclides to constrain metal transport, with applications in understanding groundwater chemistry and contaminant migration.
3-year PhD fellowship. Host organisation: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

MetTrans consortium[edit]

The Network brings together 10 full project partners and 3 associate partners, distributed over 6 European countries (5 EU Member states and 1 Associate country).

Project participants[edit]

  • University of Oxford (UK)
  • University of Durham (UK)
  • CNRS (France)
  • Swedish Museum of Natural History (Sweden)
  • Lulea University of Technology (Sweden)
  • Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain)
  • Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (Sweden)
  • Landsvirkjun Sameignarfelag (Iceland)
  • ALS Scandinavia AB (Sweden)
  • Amphos 21 Consulting SL (Spain)

Associated partners[edit]

  • University of Leeds (UK)
  • University of Iceland (Iceland)
  • Shell Global Solutions International B.V. (The Netherlands)

External links[edit]