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University of Helsinki VERIFIN - Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention
Training courses
Contact Information:
A. I. Virtasen aukio 1 (P.O. Box 55)
Department of Chemistry
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
tel. +358 2941 50443
fax +358 2941 50437
E-mail (generic)


Chemists from developing countries have been trained since 1990 under funding of MFA. The training is based on research and experience on the CWC.

By the end of March 2011, 277 trainees from 88 countries have participated either Basic, Advanced or NACD Courses.

The courses are offered to the States Parties and Signatory States of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) mentioned in the DAC List of Recipients of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Available courses

NACD Course (8 days)
Course on National Authorities and Chemical Databases. The duties of national authorities (for the CWC) are discussed: legislative issues concerning the national implementation of the CWC, collection of data, declarations and inspections. The end of the course concentrates on different sources, where data useful for the national authorities can be found.
Requirements: Post at or Close contact with the National Authority for the CWC

SIR Course (3 weeks)
Course on the Spectral Interpretation and Reporting of Chemicals related to the Chemical Weapons Convention in the framework of OPCW proficiency testing guides participants through current methods and common problems in sample preparation, gas chromatography, and gas chromatography– - mass spectrometry. The aim of the course is to prepare the trainees for the participation of the OPCW proficiency testing program, as well as follow guidelines from EU or other customers. The course will be a mixture of lectures, hands-on training and reporting.
Requirements: Basic knowledge of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques.

CW-LSE courses (2 weeks each)
CW-LSE courses on LC-MS, NMR, Laboratory Quality Assurance and Quantitative Mass spectrometry, Laboratory Skills Enhancement for the Analysis of Chemicals Related to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CW-LSE) courses are a series of two-week courses with similar structure and aim in the different aspects related to the chemical weapons analysis. The basic idea of the CW-LSE courses is to give thorough training on certain topic already partially familiar to the participants. The courses consist of lectures on theory and practice, demonstrations, exercises, maintenance of the equipment and often a test to show the level of the learning. The focus is on the hand-on training.

Fellowship (3 to 6 months)
A CWC-related project work at VERIFIN under the OPCW Fellowship support program. The actual subject of the project will be agreed on by the intern and VERIFIN.

Assistance and Protection Course (1 week)
The course has been organised since 2006 at Crisis Management Centre in Kuopio, Finland. Trainees are officers from emergency-response units who are involved in civilian protection. The aim of the course is to give training in planning for and building as support team in civilian protection and rescue operations in contaminated areas, as well as in appropriate responses, including countermeasures, in the event of incidents involving chemical warfare agents.

Expertise Workshop on CWC (tailored courses)
The goal of this workshop is to improve practical skills in analysing chemicals related to the Convention through such techniques as gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Participants will first be introduced to the theoretical aspects of GC and GC-MS and preparation of samples. They will then be given demonstrations of GC and GC-MS techniques, practical problem solving exercises and knowledge of quality assurance and the maintenance of instruments.
The programme for the two-week course will consist of the following elements:

  • The theory of GC and GC-MS.
  • Demonstrations of GC and GC-MS techniques.
  • The preparation of samples.
  • Practical exercises.
  • Quality assurance and the maintenance of instruments.
Requirements: Employment at laboratory performing environmental or CWC analysis. Basic knowledge of instrumental analysis techniques, such as gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Good working knowledge of the English language.