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April 29, 2019

Workshop Report Published on EU-U.S. Priorities in Nanosafety

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On March 5-6, 2019, a workshop on “Fostering EU‐U.S. Cooperation in Nanosafety” was held.  According to the workshop report, the workshop intended to answer two main questions:

  1. What should be the future research priorities in nanosafety and other advanced materials; and
  2. What are the opportunities for European Union (EU)‐U.S. cooperation priorities in nanosafety.

The discussion was based on the state of implementation of the 2013 report, Nanosafety in Europe 2015‐2025:  Towards Safe and Sustainable Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology Innovations, and current nanosafety activities coordinated by U.S. federal agencies participating in the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).  More than 30 participants from academia, industry, and policy drafted recommendations to be shared with both the European Commission (EC) and the relevant U.S. funding agencies in view of the upcoming Horizon Europe.  The following seven research priorities were identified:

  1. Environment and human hazards;
  2. Emerging nanomaterials and potential risks;
  3. Social and natural science research to support balanced risk governance of emerging materials;
  4. Nanoinformatics;
  5. Exposure assessment at both environment and human population levels;
  6. Standard methodologies, reference materials, and harmonization; and
  7. Life cycle/transformation/value chain/stewardship.

In addition, during the discussion, workshop participants highlighted the following potential instruments for advancing EU‐U.S. cooperation:

  • Twinning of existing projects;
  • Exchange of young scientists and mobility of researchers;
  • Participation of U.S. to Horizon 2020 and future Horizon Europe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Science Foundation (NSF), and other federal agencies could fund the U.S. participation in EU-initiated nanosafety programs;
  • Establishment of joint EU‐U.S. research programs;
  • Promotion of the Malta Initiative and opening to the U.S.;
  • Future potential European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)‐like projects; and
  • Inducement prizes.