Netherlands Center for Environmental Modeling

Embedding Aims Products Expertise


NCEM is an inter-institutional center consisting of three interacting groups:


The Center focuses on research in the field of emission, transport and transformation of chemical compounds, bioavailability, toxico-kinetics, effects on individual organisms, populations and ecosystems.

It is specialised in modeling, computer simulations, senario evaluations, risk assessments, data analysis, statistics, optimization of experimental design, computer coding.

It has no wet-lab facilities, but aims to bring advanced modeling skills together in a optimal collaboration network to address scientific problems of industries, governmental and scientific institutions.

Products (freely download-able)


Department of Environmental Science, Radboud University, Nijmegen

The Department of Environmental Science performs scientific research within the domain of integrated environmental science. One of the main research topics is the modeling of (the uncertainty in) environmental and human risks posed by chemicals and other stressors.

Our expertise includes the formulation of multimedia fate models at various geographical scales (e.g. SimpleBox), human exposure models and random walk bioaccumulation models. Apart from model development, we validate our models by testing against empirical data and by uncertainty analysis. Examples of techniques applied are (second order) Monte Carlo simulation, Bootstrap analysis and Bayesian statistics. The models developed and tested are applied in many practical applications, such as risk assessment, screening of new chemicals, model simplification by meta-model development, life cycle impact assessment and deriving environmental quality standards.

The Department of Environmental Science will focus its activities on the analysis of chemical fate and exposure, such as (1) the development of regionalized fate and exposure models, simplified meta-models, life cycle impact assessment models, (2) the analysis and interpretation of uncertainty in model outcomes, and (3) the application of models for actual risk assessment, screening purposes, life cycle impact assessment, etcetera

Department of Theoretical Biology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

The Department of Theoretical Biology has an expertise in mathematical modeling of biological systems at all levels of biological organization (molecules, cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, system earth). The ideas on which these biological models are based have a strong basis in chemistry and physics, which testifies of a strong tradition in multi-disciplinary collaboration.

The expertise not only includes the formulation of the models, but also all aspects of testing models against data (statistics; advising on experimental design), and the analysis of properties of models (e.g. bifurcation analysis). The experience of application of the models to societal problems includes the fields of (eco)toxicity, biodegradation, eutrophication, biotechnology (e.g. sewage water treatment, bioproduction), industrial optimization, (environmental) risk analysis, and global change.

Initially, the project Biomass of the department will focus its activities on chemical risk assessment: advising on the design of toxicity experiments, analysing and interpreting effects data, and providing general scientific support for new chemical notification, existing chemicals dossiers, etcetera.

Department of Industrial Ecology, Institute of Environmental Studies, Leiden

The Department of Industrial Ecology is specialised in integrative analysis for sustainability decision support. Modeling at CML-IE involves relations between economic activities in society and extends to environmental effects in the environment, in biosphere and geosphere. They cover economy and technosphere, as the interface between symbolic society and its physical environment. CML-IE models may focus on particular substances and materials, including their dynamic, as in SFA (substance flow analysis) and MFA (material flows accounting) and energy & exergy analysis; they may focus on function systems, as in LCA (Life Cycle Assessment); on broad regions, as in IOA (environmentally extended Input-Output Analysis); on hybrid combinations between these; and on dynamics in partial systems. These models of societal activities link to sustainability aspects involved in decision making: Extractions and emissions relate to global environmental cycles as the human part of the global metabolism. Environmental effects resulting are diverse and require adjusted modeling so as to integrate them into evaluation for decision making. The other partners in NCEM are leading in supplying this kind of interpretable information in two of the main ultimate areas of concern involved: biodiversity, including biotic depletion, and human health. Additionally, CML-IE has experience in the analysis of abiotic depletion, and is involved at the frontiers of integrative analysis, as in eco-efficiency analysis.

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