A - Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses (Emmcs)

Award Criteria 2012

A - Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses (EMMCs)

A.1  Academic quality - Course content (30 % of the max. score)

A.1.1  Describe the EMMC objectives (including in socio-economic terms) in relation to the needs analysis in the field(s) concerned.
To what extent is the EMMC offer justified (notably in terms of inter/multi-disciplinary or newly emerging fields), and how is it linked to identified needs in a European and worldwide context?

A large fraction (estimated as 25% to as high as 70% by different surveys)[1] of the chemistry master's degree holders are worldwide employed within the area of analytical chemistry. Analytical chemists who are responsible for analyses results, quality assurance and technical issues in industry (chemical, pharmaceutical, food, materials, etc.), in government bodies and in research have an important impact on society. Decision making often relies on the results produced by analytical chemists and they carry a high responsibility.

During the recent years significant changes have taken place worldwide in the area of measurement, testing and chemical analysis. The importance of chemical analyses is constantly increasing. It has been estimated that measurements and chemical analyses[2] make up 4-6% of the GDP in developed countries.[3] More and more legal acts are passed that concern chemical analyses, thus analytical chemistry is equally crucial from the legal perspective. A fully functional quality system, accredited according to international standards (most often ISO/IEC 17025:2005[4] or GLP) is now a must in many areas (food, environmental, healthcare, citizen safety, hi-tech production, etc) where the laboratories are active. In addition to rigorous documentation, new requirements also include serious demands to the technical quality of measurements and analyses. A large part of these are related to metrological underpinning of analytical measurements: measurement uncertainty of analysis results must be adequately evaluated, traceability of analysis results must be demonstrated, etc. A number of novel analytical techniques have become widespread in modern analytical chemistry: LC-MS for trace organic contaminants, ICP-MS for trace elements, different sensors, etc. All these changes have led to a strong and increasing need for analytical chemists in industry and public bodies as evidenced by a recent review.[5] The strong need for qualified specialists is also very well indicated by the active attendance in practitioners-oriented training courses Europe-wide, e.g. the TrainMiC programme.[6]

On the other hand, the changes have been rapid and up to now the higher education sector (in the whole world) has generally been unable to respond adequately to the needs of the chemical analysis community. This is demonstrated, above all, by lack or insufficient coverage of metrology topics (such, as traceability, measurement uncertainty, etc) and different newly emerging areas of analysis, that are on the borderline of analytical chemistry and other disciplines, in the study programmes. For example, determination of nanoparticles in environment, in vivo microanalysis in living cells, etc. As an illustration, it has been estimated that between 5% and 30% of the results of interlaboratory comparison measurements (the primary means for laboratories to assess and demonstrate their competence) contain large systematic errors and are incorrect.[7],[8] This is largely caused by insufficient education of the personnel performing the analysis. Incorrect analysis results can lead to wrong decisions in industrial production, environmental management, medicine, etc and can ultimately lead to failure of machines and equipment, worsening of environmental conditions, illness or even death of patients.

The EACH programme has been designed with the main objective to fill this gap by providing top quality and "full package" education integrating the fundamentals and practical skills in modern analytical chemistry with metrological, quality assurance and socio-economic aspects as well as the emerging areas of analytical chemistry. The graduates of the programme will have both strong fundamental knowledge of analytical chemistry and measurement science as well as applied knowledge of the methods and their usage. The programme has been designed to strengthen European quality in analytical chemistry and address the demand that has become very obvious in recent years.

A.1.2  Justify – using concrete evidence - the EMMC's added value compared with existing masters' courses in the same field at national, European and international level.
To what extent will this added value contribute to European university excellence, innovation and competitiveness, and, if applicable, to the cooperation expectations of the non European partner countries?

EACH addresses, besides "classical" analytical chemistry, which has firmly become indispensable in today's industry and other fields of economy, also areas that have become very important only during the last decade by incorporating four modules:

(1) metrology in chemistry (MiC) (first year) as a core sub-discipline of analytical chemistry,

(2) socio-economical aspects of analytical chemistry (first year). These include economic parts (such as economic impact of analyses on society in terms of costs and benefits, direct and indirect benefits as well as practical management of an analytical laboratory, etc), and legal parts (analyses specified in legislation, requirements for laboratories in terms of competence and accreditation status, legal consequences of non-compliances with jurisdictional limits, etc) and

(3) emerging areas in analytical chemistry (Winter School). These include novel instrumental developments, such as miniaturization and automation, determination of nano-particles in food, environment, etc; remote sensing and wireless sensors; advanced techniques of characterization of materials, such as different microscopy, ion beam, etc techniques; determination of genetically modified organisms in food, in vivo analytical chemistry in cells, etc. The emerging areas of analytical chemistry are so diverse that it is almost impossible to cover all of them by any reasonable number of partner universities. Thus, these areas will be taught by invited scholars and the representatives of associated partners (Annex 5).

In addition, to further enhance the practical value of the programme and the employability of our graduates, EACH includes:

(4) practical training (between I and II year) which enables to get hands-on experience of working in real industry or analytical laboratory environment.

Undoubtedly, the inclusion of these modules is a key to the success of the EACH programme.

The partner universities have long-standing cooperation traditions with industry and laboratories (see A.1.6 for details) and the EACH programme has been developed in close collaboration with the best qualified practitioners in Europe. The geographical proximity and extensive cooperation adds to the ease of collaboration between partner universities and non-educational associated members (e.g. organizing internship placements). The well-established network of our associated partners represents both diversity of industry the EACH graduates can be involved in as well as the best quality of research laboratories across Europe.

There are other master's programmes in analytical chemistry in Europe. However, programmes similar to EACH are virtually missing. EACH differs by the inclusion of the above mentioned modules 1-3. (in addition to the main analytical chemistry part, see programme layout in Annex 1). These modules provide expertise that has become especially important for industry and laboratories during the last decade, but is still rarely found in analytical chemistry programmes worldwide.

To the best of our knowledge the only remotely similar international master's programme in the world is EMQAL – European Master for Quality in Analytical Laboratories. According to its web page "EMQAL is a master course for laboratory managers and scientists who wish to implement and manage Quality Systems in analytical laboratories, or work in Quality System environments in accredited analytical laboratories". EMQAL differs from EACH in important ways: (1) it rather focuses on quality management than on analytical chemistry, (2) its learning outcomes lack the socio-economic aspects and newly emerging areas or analytical chemistry and (3) it is targeted to working practitioners rather than recently graduated bachelor degree holders seeking for options to pursue studies in analytical chemistry.

We are convinced that the well-integrated and labour-market-oriented EACH programme increases the competitiveness of the European higher education in the field of analytical chemistry.

A.1.3  Present the structure and content of the EMMC and justify the added value and relevance of the mandatory mobility component.
What will be the course structure and main teaching topics? To what extent do the course topics/structure/modules justify their relevance in relation with the course objectives and the needs of the field(s)?
How is the students' mobility relevant and instrumental to the course's purposes? If applicable, explain how the internship / placement / fieldwork activities fit in the joint course model and objectives.

The EACH programme includes 120 ECTS credits, which are divided as shown in the module scheme outline (see Annex 1 for full programme scheme). The learning outcomes of the modules derive from the learning outcomes of the programme, outlined in section A.1.4.

Table 1. Module scheme outline of the EACH programme.

module name and volume / Focus and Learning outcomes of the modules
YEAR 1 60 ECTS / University of Tartu (General analytical chemistry, metrology in chemistry, quality assurance,
socio-economical aspects, training placement)
General analytical chemistry module (21) / Student acquires the basic knowledge and skills in analytical chemistry:
(1) general principles of chemical analysis: chemical analysis workflow, analysis procedures, their characteristics; skills for evaluating the analysis results;
(2) main methods of chemical analysis (gravimetry, titrimetry, electrochemistry, chromatography, mass spectrometry, optical spectroscopic methods) and the underlying processes (precipitation, chemical equilibria, quantum and electronic processes in atoms and molecules);
(3) analysis objects and samples, principles and main methods of sample preparation (digestion, extraction, etc).
Metrology module (9) / Student acquires the knowledge of the main metrological concepts (traceability, measurement uncertainty) and approaches (validation of analysis procedures, reference materials, interlaboratory comparisons) relevant to chemical analysis, as well as the related practical skills (experiment planning, data treatment) in their application to analytical chemistry (metrology in chemistry).
Socio-economical module (13) / Student has the understanding of the importance of analytical chemistry for society from the economic and legal point of view; is able to understand legislative acts related to chemical analysis; knows the principles of operation of an accredited quality system and is able to work within it; has basic proficiency in one of the three languages spoken in the universities involved in the EACH programme and is familiar with the main cultural characteristics of the countries where studies take place.
Training placement (8) / Student acquires understanding of the analytical chemistry issues in a professional environment at industry, research institution or a professional laboratory as well as the knowledge and skills for performing specific tasks. This module is important for (1) preparation of the student for future employment and (2) possible selection of the master's thesis topic.
Elective module (9) / Student acquires additional knowledge according to his/her interests. Also the levelling course in chemistry is included in this module. In the beginning of the first semester there is an introductory test to identify lower level students who need the levelling course.
University of Oulu (Inorganic and trace element analysis, atomic spectroscopy)
Inorganic and physical chemistry module (15) / Student acquires a wide knowledge of the chemistry areas that are needed to understand chemical and physical properties of elements, their compounds and behaviour in different chemical environments. This is needed to get a profound understanding of analytical systems, e.g. sample preparation and spectroscopy.
Trace elements analysis module (10) / Student obtains theoretical background and practical skills in trace element analysis using various instrumental techniques as well as basic skills for common statistical methods and statistical experimental design. Trace elements in environment and their impact on society and economy.
Finnish language (5) / Student acquires basic skills of the Finnish language
Uppsala University (Advanced separation methods and organic analysis)
Open advanced course in chemistry with focus on separation and mass spectrometry (10) / The module will give practical and theoretical knowledge and skills of modern analytical separation (chromatography, electrophoresis) and detection (mass spectrometry, fluorescence, electrochemical, etc) methods with emphasis on mass spectrometry.
Applied chemical analysis of complex samples (15) / To obtain practical skills of analysis of different complex objects, related to the master's thesis topic.
Swedish language (5) / Student acquires basic skills of the Swedish language
Åbo Akademi UNIVERSITY (Sensors, electrochemical analysis, advanced analytical devices)
Electroanalysis module (25) / Student acquires theoretical background and practical skills in electrochemistry and chemical sensors. Modern design and fabrication of electrochemical sensors are emphasized in laboratory exercises and seminars where student also becomes familiar with analytical chemistry research.
Swedish language (5) / Student acquires basic skills of the Swedish language.
All second year universities
Master's thesis (30) / Student develops practical skills in planning, executing and reporting of scientific research in the field of analytical chemistry. Student, who has passed the module:
- is intimately familiar with one specific field of analytical chemistry both in terms of knowledge and skills;
- is able to evaluate and present analytical results, compose and present public presentations and present one's viewpoints, conclusions and generalizations and discuss them with experts in the field;
- knows the principles and requirements for scientific work and scientific ethics and is able to work according to these requirements.
- is able to put the results into a wider socio-economic perspective.
An important preparatory element of the master's thesis is the Winter School consisting of short courses, discussions with lecturers and presentations by students about the progress of their master's theses.

Scheme 1. Study tracks of the EACH programme.

The students spend their first study year at UT (also referred to as the home university) learning the fundamentals of analytical chemistry (including the mainstream practical skills for working in an analytical laboratory), analytical quality and metrology in chemistry as well as the socio-economic aspects of analytical chemistry. These fields are particularly strong at UT (see A.1.5). Starting at UT ensures solid fundament for the students' analytical chemistry education. The advantage of having all first year students at the same university is that their knowledge and skills are of the same level to successfully continue at the second year universities. The first year ends with the training placement (often at one of the associated partners), which takes place during the summer between I and II year.