BILAT USA 4.0 in cooperation with the eNanoMapper project, organized the workshop titled “Enabling a sustainable harmonised knowledge infrastructure supporting nano environmental and health safety assessment” on 24th of October in Rheinfelden (Germany). The event served to support the ongoing US-EU dialogue in the area of Nano Environmental and Health Safety (NanoEHS) that has the goals to engage US and EU experts in active discussions, encourage joint programs of work and support communities of research. The workshop was attended by about 30 experts from Europe, U.S. and Asia.
The workshop's main objective was to facilitate networking, knowledge sharing and idea development on the requirements and implementation of a sustainable knowledge infrastructure for NanoEHS. This infrastructure should support the needs required by different stakeholders including researchers, industry, regulators, workers and consumers. The detailed information on the workshop can be found on the event website.
After the opening remarks by Dr. Barry Hardy (Coordinator of eNanoMapper) and Dr Lisa Friedersdorf (National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, USA), presentations and discussions were held under different sessions:
- Information Needs of Stakeholders & Applications,
- US-EU perspectives, initiatives and progress, and
- Knowledge Infrastructure Solutions
and followed by two interactive Knowledge Café sessions on “Read-across and data completeness” led by Dr. Frederick Klaessig (Pennsylvania Bio Nano Systems, USA), and on “Nano Ontologies”, led by Dr. Egon Willighagen (Maastricht University, The Netherlands).
The day continued with the Nano Modelling workshop, where two applications developed within eNanoMapper project were demonstrated (more details on the eNanoMapper website). All participants had the possibility to use and test the tools, and also to discuss and give feedback to the developers.
There is a clear need for publicly available good quality data on physicochemical parameters, for understanding behaviour, fate, Toxicokinetics and (eco)toxicity of NMs as well as mechanisms for reliable storing and curation.
Harmonisation and standardisation of regulatory test methods can be achieved through
- Taking inventory of what we have already and ongoing activities was critical /needed to leverage resources
- Development of reference materials and benchmark materials
- Harmonised dispersion protocols
- Harmonised reporting templates (in order toenhance comparability of test results and to allow sharing of data have to be developed)
- Benefitting from existing templates (such as JRC-NanoReg Tempates) should be considered.
It is also recommended to organize a series of training of data managers. This could be subject to a new project or an action supported by existing projects (such as BILAT USA 4.0 and/or other NANOEHS CSA projects)
NanoEHS area is an area that IPR and/or competition between EU and U.S is not an issue. On the contrary, industries will benefit immensely from harmonized data and standardization. Therefore, both EU and U.S. authorities shall establish necessary measures to support joint work of researchers within ongoing and new initiatives through U.S. national and EU level support programmes. Especially CSA like initiatives are very important to bring researchers from both sides regularly. Additionally, due to the new implementing arrangement between EU and U.S. it is expected that more U.S. organizations can participate in related H2020 Projects.
Currently there is no open or forthcoming H2020 call in Nano EHS fields. Therefore, it is expected that this topic will be specifically addressed in the next Work Programme (2018-2019)
However, MSC Rise Scheme as well as COST Actions may be considered for staff exchange and networking activities.
In the meantime, existing projects and initiatives are recommended to be utilized to support regular knowledge exchanges between European and U.S. researchers.