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SYBERAC: Towards a SYstems-Based, holistic Environmental Risk Assessment of Chemicals

This project aims to deliver the underpinning science, methods and tools that can support a transition of terrestrial chemical risk assessment into a systems-based environmental risk assessment designed to protect genetic and functional diversity and ecosystem services.


At the core of SYBERAC there is a collaborative knowledge-building process that integrates expertise and knowledge from relevant actors to improve understanding of how chemicals impact terrestrial ecosystems. Six case studies will deliver the essential information, data and understanding that can be used to contrast outcomes of current, siloed regulatory environmental risk assessment (ERA) methods with systems-based approaches. These systems-based approaches will be based on a multi-stakeholder engagement with main regulators at national and EU-levels, but also involving stakeholders with backgrounds in land management, farmers, and environmental conservation. This will be achieved by adopting a co-creation process with ongoing activities and projects, including PARC and EFSA-commissioned projects, and with emerging projects, also from this call. Proofs-of-concept will be delivered for the application of new risk assessment methods and tools to strengthen current ERA processes to protect landscape level biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Chemical specific aspects will be applied to align use and release scenarios to allow assessment of cumulative and mixture exposures. SYBERAC results will underpin the streamlining of a systems-based ERA, by capturing efficiently the risk of chemicals for terrestrial biodiversity at relevant temporal and spatial scales.

SYBERAC new approaches and tools for harmonised assessment will be in turn connected to surrounding societal arenas representing the agricultural, ecological and production systems as well as the political, economic and social systems. SYBERAC is timely as it aims to develop a novel systems-based environmental risk assessment, supported by the necessary protection goal, guidance, methods, and tools for its implementation. This focus will integrate the strengths of current ERA into a more holistic framework for a systems-based ERA, providing strategies for transition, as well as concrete case-studies to initiate such a transition process. 

The Aarhus University contribution to SYBERAC is shared between SESS, part of Department of Ecoscience, and Department of Environmental Science (ENVS). SESS researcher James Henty Williams is in charge of the stakeholder engagement activities in SYBERAC. In addition, SESS takes part in a case study involving ecological modelling using the ALMaSS framework. ENVS, Center for Advanced Water Purification, is involved in environmental chemistry and fate of pollutants activities.


James Henty Williams

Researcher Department of Ecoscience - Biodiversity and Conservation

Project duration



Horizon Europe