Who We Are
and NERAM are
located at the University of Waterloo and were founded in
1981 & 1995 respectively. They are networks of expertise
in risk management for the environment (NERAM) and risk in
Both networks are funded by partners in industry
and government as well as from research contracts, and sale
of publications. All work done is peer reviewed and published
to ensure that all activities are fully independent and of
the highest quality. According to opportunities for support
the two networks sponsor conferences, workshops and in-house
research. Please contact
us for more information or to access the substantial expertise
that exists in the network.
John Shortreed, Ph.D., PEO(ON)
Executive Director, IRR and NERAM
The New Regulatory Reality
In Canada, we are seeing the emergence of a new regulatory
regime in which responsibility for assessment of hazardous
substances is being devolved from government to industry and
there is increasing reliance on voluntary approaches and a
resulting need for acceptable regulatory standards.
This paradigm shift presents significant opportunity for
industry but also highlights the need to improve both the
scientific basis of risk assessment and its systematic integration
into risk management decision-making and risk communication
with the public and other stakeholders.
The Network for Environmental Risk Assessment and Management
(NERAM) will integrate the scientific knowledge and expertise
that exists across many diverse disciplines in Canada to provide
a comprehensive approach to environmental risk assessment
and risk management that supports more effective and efficient
environmental protection practices and decision-making.
NERAM partners from industry and government have said that
the Network will help them deal with issues such as:
- today's climate of deregulation, public sector downsizing,
and devolution of responsibility for environmental risk
assessment and management from federal to lower levels of
government and industry is intensifying the need for a multi-sectoral
- need for more effective and efficient environmental protection
practices and decision-making
- complexity of the research is too broad for any one centre
- need for consistency/agreement on Risk Assessment methodologies
- need for more consistent and credible message in communicating
about environmental risk
NETWORK GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
The goal of the Network for Environmental Risk Assessment
and Management is to integrate the scientific knowledge and
expertise that exists across many diverse disciplines which
contribute to environmental protection in Canada.
The Network's principal objectives are:
- to develop risk-based methodologies, standards and tools
based on scientific models of environmental risk assessment.
NERAM will focus on methodologies that are practical and
- to establish an integrated scientific framework for theoretical
and practical principles of integrated environmental risk
assessment and management, based on actual risk management
- to disseminate methods, research results and experiences
with environmental risk assessment.
- to provide significant postgraduate education and training
of scientific personnel in the integrated methodologies
of environmental risk assessment and management.
- to be a coordinated, Canada-wide resource for independent,
credible and multi-disciplinary scientific advice on environmental
risk assessment and management.
At meetings of the Network in August and October of 1997,
a critical mass of partners was achieved and the broad outlines
of the Network and its operations formulated. The Node Directors
and the initial partners established the following Guiding
- NERAM research programs will endeavor to address the needs
of a significant majority Partners in the Network and must
be done by world class researchers. All research activities
must be peer reviewed both during and at the completion
of the research.
- The Network will work to include all stakeholders involved
in the Protection of the Environment and the Assessment
and Management of that protection. Thus, the following groups
must be included: Industry, Government, Universities, Consultants,
and non-government organizations (NGOs) as representatives
of sources of special knowledge, special interest groups
and the Public.
- The Network will continually focus on the training and
development of experts in Environmental Risk Assessment.
Tools and techniques for helping Canada's industries assess
and protect the environment are useless without adequately
trained people to do the work. To achieve the overall goal
of the Network, of better Environmental Protection, it is
essential that there be both good deliverables and well
- Network activities must be interdisciplinary and must
also reflect the diverse characteristics of Canada. To be
practical and credible NERAM deliverables must reflect both
the diversity of Canada and the diversity of research approaches
and knowledge of different disciplines.
- The Network will seek to develop a scientific framework
for Environmental Risk Assessment that incorporates both
theoretical and scientific principles as well as practical
realities of the environment and ecosystems. This framework
will guide the development of methods, tools and individual
- The Network is a long term venture that incorporates short
term research projects. While individual research and programs
are of limited duration, the Network will be structured
to have the continuity that is required to develop and maintain
the Network connections and working relationships necessary
to continually advance Environmental Risk Assessment and