Modelling training course – September 2016


A practical modelling course using the MERLIN-Expo tool for simulating exposure to chemicals in the environment

Venue: Holiday Inn, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Dates: Monday 12 September – Tuesday 13 September

What is this event?

The MERLIN-Expo group is organising a summer training session to support users and potential users of MERLIN-Expo to get the most out of the software. This course will be comprised of lectures and practical sessions to teach advanced modelling methods for the assessment of human and environmental exposure to chemicals. The participants will gain knowledge of modelling environmental fate, human exposure and pharmacokinetics.

During the practical sessions, MERLIN-Expo will be used to demonstrate calculations of exposure in a variety of contexts. This will include various environmental compartments (e.g. water/sediment, soil/food), ecological food webs and human exposure via various pathways. Participants are invited to bring their own data to discuss with the MERLIN-Expo trainers.

What is MERLIN-Expo?

MERLIN-Expo is a modelling tool for assessing the risk of environmental pollutants for biota and/or humans. The tool provides an integrated approach that links both aspects of chemical risk: the environmental processes that determine the risk of exposure, and the biological processes that determine the pharmacokinetic aspects of exposure. In addition, it accounts for the lifetime exposure of different human populations, and for exposure through multiple pathways.

The tool links a library of environmental and biological models that can be selected depending on the type of chemical and exposure route. And it offers build-in routines to perform uncertainty and sensitivity analysis.

MERLIN-Expo can be downloaded at

Who is this for?

This course is suitable for scientists involved in research of contaminants interested in modelling the exposure and risk for organisms or humans, who want to learn about the possibilities of applying the Merlin-Expo tool.  This could be from an industrial perspective (e.g. those working with biocides); a research perspective (e.g. postgraduate students and academic researchers); or a legislative perspective (e.g. civil servants working for chemical regulatory authorities).

About the trainers

The trainers are taken from the MERLIN-Expo group that developed both the science and the software and hosted a series of successful training events in 2015 as part of the 4-FUN project funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union.

Philippe Ciffroy is a senior researcher at EDF in France and expert in ecotoxicology, environmental health risk and radioecology with expertise in model development, uncertainty and sensitivity analysis. He is one of the scientists involved in the development of the MERLIN-Expo models.

Boris Alfonso is a software engineer and project manager at Facilia in Sweden, with long experience in desktop programming using Java, and in developing and maintaining of database driven websites. He is responsible for the technical development of the MERLIN-Expo tool.

James Garratt is the founder and managing director of Enviresearch.  He is a scientist with a special interest in assessing the risks of chemicals to the environment.

Wendy van Beinum is an environmental scientist and risk assessor at Enviresearch, specialised in the use of mathematical and process models.


The course will be held over two days:

Monday 12 September: The first day of the course, we will get introduced to the MERLIN-Expo tool, and learn about building and connecting models. Real case studies will be used to demonstrate and practice with the models. Topics of the first day include simulating the dynamics of contaminants in river water and sediment, food webs and bioaccumulation in aquatic organisms. Practical sessions will be aimed at getting familiar with the graphical user interface, the available modules and example models.

Tuesday 13 September: Risk assessment is not always straightforward and involves a lot of uncertainties. On the second day we will learn how to perform an uncertainty and sensitivity analysis in MERLIN-Expo. In addition we will look at the following case studies: predicting human uptake from the environment via a range of exposure pathways, and pharmacokinetic modelling (the PBPK model). We will also discuss using MERLIN-expo for regulatory risk assessments, and other possible applications.

Registration fee

Discounted price £695* / Regular price £895

* Discounted prices are available for academic and non-profit organisations, government and authorities, students and early career scientists (<2 years)

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: Get a 10% discount when registering by 30th of June 2016

Fees include lunches and refreshments, and a social event with dinner on Monday evening. Accommodation is not included in the fee.


To register, please complete the online form.

We would ask you to bring your own laptop for the training, but please let us know if that is difficult and you wish to borrow one.

If you have any questions please email:

Cancellation policy

We reserve the right to cancel or reschedule this course. Under these circumstances, a full refund for registration fees or an alternative course date will be offered. We cannot be held responsible for any additional costs incurred as a result of a cancelled training course.