Welcome from the Organizing Committee

Dear Colleague,

With the ongoing uncertainties surrounding the pandemic the 19th International Workshop on (Quantitative) Structure-Activity Relationships in Environmental and Health Sciences (QSAR2021) will now take place on June 7-10, 2021 as a virtual event. This move will assure the best interests of the health and wellbeing of our attendees, sponsors and exhibitors and allow for maximum participation.

Ever since the first meeting in 1983, the workshop has been an important international gathering in the field of Environmental and Health Sciences, bringing together scientists from all sectors to foster discussions on the development and application of (Q)SARs. The meeting evolved to incorporate a strong focus on the regulatory use and acceptance of (Q)SARs (e.g. for pharmaceutical impurities as well as industrial chemicals under the EU REACH regulation). We planned for QSAR2020 to enter into a new phase of extending the scope of the Workshop to encompass both traditional QSARs underpinned by classical (eco)toxicity data as well as New Approach Methodologies (NAM). NAM capture approaches such as high throughput and high content screening (HTS/HCS) methods, transcriptomic (HTTR) data, as well as the informatics and data engineering needs for computational toxicology. This expanded scope remains our focus for what will now be QSAR2021.

The QSAR series of workshops have always been well known for their active in-person networking and collaboration opportunities. As such, we have thought long and hard about how to maximise virtual face-to-face engagement to the greatest extent possible. We intend on using several software platforms to accomplish this, facilitated with clear instructions for how to use them. Support and navigation assistance will also be provided to participants throughout the conference itself.

Join research scientists from around the world along with developers and users of predictive models and their underlying data (whether that be exposure data, non-targeted screening data, HTS or classical toxicity data), to foster discussion and debate around the practical implementation and acceptance of these approaches. QSAR2021 will focus on answering questions such as:

  • How should we view and account for the assumptions of the classical toxicity approaches?

  • How should we be applying and interpreting NAM data?

  • How should we be benchmarking the performance and characterising both confidence and uncertainty of new predictive models?

  • What are the short and long-term research and development needs?

  • What are the databasing and informatic challenges for computational toxicology?

The gracious contributions of our sponsors have also allowed us to lower the registration fee to participate in the entire conference to just $150 for regular attendees and only $50 for students and post-doctoral fellows.

The programme aims to include diverse presentations from all major stakeholders and provide opportunities to discuss and review the latest scientific advancements. The QSAR 2021 programme-at-a-glance has been posted to the main conference website, which outlines the timeline for the sessions each day. Although we are still in the planning stages of this format, from the programme-at-a-glance you can see that there will be:

  • Plenary (pre-recorded) sessions with live Q&A

  • Daily platform (pre-recorded) presentations selected from submitted abstracts with live Q&A

  • Poster Sessions with “lightning” presentations (facilitated using the Remo software platform)

  • Talks and posters will be available to attendees on demand during the week, no need to miss any talks of interest due to overlapping times or different time zones

  • Daily networking opportunities facilitated using Discord and Remo software

We assure you that we plan to leverage the power of these virtual meeting platforms to create a face-to-face experience as far as possible.

We look forward to your submissions and registrations, and we hope to virtually see you at the conference next June.

On behalf of the Organising Committee
Grace Patlewicz (US EPA),
Kristie Sullivan (ASCCT),
Richard A. Becker (ICCA-LRI)