The second INSPIRATION network summer school on the theme of Novel monitoring techniques to assess contaminant sources, natural processes and remediation performance with focus on nutrient and C cycles, was hosted in Athens, Greece, 11-13 September 2017. This event was attended by all fellows and external participants, who included researchers and professional environmental engineers from Europe. Over the three days the participants were introduced to the challenges and innovations underpinning the investigation, assessment and management of nutrient and carbon inputs to the natural environment, covering groundwater soils and surface water bodies.
The technical scope covered the application of stable isotope analysis, modelling tools and novel monitoring devices to study sources, behaviour and management of nitrogen and carbon at the river to catchment scale. While the focus was on agricultural contributions of these components, the course also considered the status of natural systems and remediation approaches that can be implemented. Both laboratory and field-based monitoring techniques were profiled to demonstrate the role of technology innovation in the scientific analysis and interpretation of water quality impacts from agricultural practices. A field trip to an agricultural catchment north of Athens helped provide the historical and practical context for the summer school, demonstrating potential conflicts between different uses of limited water resources and novel high-resolution, remote sensor monitoring of water quality for sustainable management, developed by an EU-funded project.
The summer school was presented by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany), IWW-Beratung GmbH (Germany), Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany) and National Technical University of Athens (Greece), with guest speakers from Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf - University of Applied Sciences (Germany). And, on a lighter note, everyone had the privilege of exploring the awe-inspiring majesty of the Parthenon and many other historical monuments!