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July 11, 0201

Mid-Term Evaluation of EUON Includes Recommendations to Increase Its Effectiveness

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On July 5, 2019, the European Union (EU) Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) released an ex-post evaluation report prepared by the Evaluation Working Group of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) with the support of PricewaterhouseCoopers.  The ex-post evaluation assessed EUON against the following criteria:  effectiveness; coherence; EU added-value; and utility.  The recommendations by the external evaluators include:

  1. Increase the effectiveness and relevance of the information on EUON by providing additional information and increasing the frequency of publishing new information. More specifically:
    1. Ensure the information and studies displayed on the website are up-to-date and relevant;
    2. Ensure a wide and balanced range of studies are displayed, especially under the “Safety” section;
    3. Increase the flow of new information by, e.g., establishing a blog;
    4. Include more links to and interpretation/synthesis of content from other relevant initiatives;
    5. Increasing the use of social media channels;
    6. Develop an inventory of products registered on the market that contain nanomaterials, especially those frequently used by consumers;
    7. Over the medium-term, prioritize integrating the data received on nanomaterials via the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation database into the EUON;
    8. Further explore how the issues relating to integration with national nanomaterials registries could be addressed;
    9. Provide additional information on regulatory developments and risk assessments; and
    10. Address maintenance issues highlighted by users in the survey.
  2. Increase the effectiveness of the EUON by increasing its user-friendliness for non-expert audiences. Specifically:
    1. Make information targeted at non-expert audiences more prominent;
    2. More clearly segregate the information targeted at non-expert and expert audiences; and
    3. Streamline the provision of information to the general public between EUON and ECHA’s “Chemicals in our life” webpage.
  3. Increase awareness of EUON among stakeholders, as a secondary priority to improving and consolidating the website content. Awareness could most effectively be increased by:
    1. Increasing the promotion of the website/new material on the website in the ECHA newsletter;
    2. Increasing the promotion of EUON/new material on the EUON website on the ECHA website; and
    3. Increasing the use of social media channels.

The internal evaluators recommend developing measurable indicators and targets to track the progress of the project, as well as developing and monitoring indicators relating to cost, speed, and quality of the relevant milestones to facilitate the assessment of both its effectiveness and efficiency.