The Panorama logo. Rare Earth Elements and their impact on the environment.

Nowadays, Rare Earth Elements (REE) are used in defense and space industries as well as in our everyday life. From smartphones to petroleum refining, it is now fully part of our way of living and producing. Although these resources are mostly produced in China, access to REE is strategic for Europe. Moreover, it has been shown that the extraction, refining, and increasing use of rare earths produce toxic waste.

With these two key elements in mind, several research and industrial projects have therefore recently been devoted to the identification of geological resources (potential stocks) of REE on the European continent as well as the development of more virtuous and eco-responsible extraction processes. However, although disturbances in some rare earth biogeochemical cycles have already been identified, the environmental risk inherent to the operation of REE and their dissemination has not yet been subject to any in-depth impact assessment.


To this end, the interdisciplinary PANORAMA project was created with the aim to study the whole environmental behaviour of rare earths. More precisely:

--> their occurrence; speciation; transfer; bioavailability and biotoxicity from their sources to the various environmental compartments and their associated effects on environmental health.


The PANORAMA project brings the skills of (geo)chemists, (hydro)geologists and (eco)toxicologists, working together within a consortium of 14 partner universities and 4 private partners to train 15 PhD students. The project will combine training and cutting-edge research tools through field/analysis/experimentation/modelling approaches. This close partnership of members of academic and non-academic sectors within the consortium represents a unique opportunity for PhD students to develop a wide skillset in both basic research and cross-cutting skills.

The training objective of this project is to provide them with all the elements that will enable them to obtain lasting jobs in the academic, industrial, commercial, or political sectors, all within a high-level European intersectoral collaborative framework.