ITOPF announces winner of its 2024 Research and Development award

Written by Joe Lane 1 May 2024

ITOPF announces winner of its 2024 Research and Development award

ITOPF is pleased to announce the winner of its 2024 Research and Development (R&D) award as the NurdleTrack project, submitted by SINTEF and the Norwegian Coastal Administration.

The NurdleTrack project will develop and validate an analytical toolbox for source identification and hazard assessment of plastic pellets spilled at sea, with a further goal of developing a fast way to evaluate the toxicological hazards of plastic pellets, in order to assist decision-makers when selecting appropriate actions during a response to a spill.

Plastic pellets can be released at sea either through losses of transported cargo or during ship accidents and are primarily degraded through UV-oxidation, which can change their physical form and chemical composition at the surface and present an environmental problem and potential hazard to marine wildlife.

Technical Director, Richard Johnson said of the winning project: “It is no secret the potential hazards plastic pellets pose when lost to the environment, and spills of this type present a variety of challenges for decision-makers.

“Enabling research such as the NurdleTrack project is vital in improving the level of knowledge responders have so that they may make the most informed choices when deciding appropriate response actions.

“As ever, increasing the level of expertise in the pollution response community will benefit us all in the future.

“I’d like to thank all those who applied for this year’s R&D award, we received a record number of applications, highlighting the importance of research and development within the community.”

Since it began in 2011, the ITOPF R&D Award has distributed more than half a million pounds on research and development projects worldwide.

Further information on the Award, including updates on previous award winners, can be found on the R&D Award Page. the first announcement for the 2025 ITOPF R&D Award will be out soon.

Potential candidates should not hesitate to contact us if they have any questions about the Award by emailing

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