Activities & Projects

Public Engagement & Communication

NIA’s activities and projects aim to engage both nanotechnology stakeholders and the public on the topic of nanosciences and -technologies in order to ultimately foster a constructive dialogue and understanding of the potential widespread impact of these new enabling technologies. Through projects such NanoDIODE (Developing Innovative Outreach and Dialogue on responsible Nanotechnologies in EU Civil Society) and NanoEIS (Nanotechnology Education for Industry and Society), NIA assesses best practices in education,and public engagement and dialogue on nanotechnologies. Through projects such as INGENIOUS (Advanced Workshop Course in Public Communication and Applied Ethics for Nanotechnologists), NIA trains nanotechnology researchers of all disciplines in matters of engagement and communication. Together with NIA's work on innovation, economics and S&T policy, these projects support NIA's participation in, and work with, the OECD Working Party on Nanotechnology.

NIA also initiates in-depth studies and research into areas important to the societal impact of nanotechnologies, such as through its report into the so-called 'NanoGap' (The Role of Nanotechnologies in the Divide between the developing and the developed World).

The Responsible Nano-Code was developed in collaboration with a number of stakeholders, including civil society organisations (CSOs), the insurance and investment industry,and environmental health and safety institutes; the code provides a consensus on seven principles that demonstrate good-practice and responsible development in the R&D, commercialisation and use of nanotechnologies.

Through the projects NanoSilver Network (The responsible Development of Nanosilver throughout the entire Product Life-Cycle)REACH-nano Help Desk and NanoRelease Food Additive (Developing Methods to measure Release of Nanoparticles from Food), NIA informs and updates stakeholders on the developments and implementation of policies and regulations concerning nanomaterials, while NIA's own (i.e. NIA-initiated and -coordinated) Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) PROSPEcT (Ecotoxicology Test Protocols for Representative Nanomaterials in Support of the OECD Sponsorship Programme) and Global-NanoMaPPP (Global PPP for the Integrated Measurement and Testing of Representative NanoMaterials in Support of the OECD Sponsorship Programme) provide fora and platforms for stakeholder collaboration on the topics of policy-information and -making, especially within the framework of the OECD's Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials, where NIA is the leading industry representative through the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC).

Net Market Fluidics is a market approach project for tackling the bottlenecks preventing the deployment of micro and nanofluidics in Europe. Fluidics are characterized by a broad number of research groups and enterprises developing knowledge and technology for many diverse application fields. 

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The SeeingNano project will create Novel Visualisation Tools for Enhanced Nanotechnology Awareness through a coordinated collaborative approach conducted by leading experts in the relevant fields: the target audiences identified in the proposal will be analysed by the consortium's socio-economic sciences and humanities, who - in collaboration with the consortium's state-of-the-art information visualisation partners - will elaborate and agree on the most appropriate tool to address the respective audiences.

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NanoDefine aims to develop validated measurement methods for nanomaterials; these methods are to be robust, readily implementable, cost-effective and capable of both reliably measuring the numbers of particles in the 1-100nm diameter range, and compare that to the measured numbers of particles from 1nm diameter to many micrometres (or even millimetres). The chosen methods will be based on a comprehensive evaluation of existing methodologies as well as a rigorous intra-lab and inter-lab comparison. 

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Stakeholder engagement and dialogue are essential to the responsible development of nanotechnologies in Europe. The European FP7 project NanoDiode, launched in July 2013 for a period of three years, establishes an innovative, coordinated programme for outreach and dialogue throughout Europe to support the effective governance of nanotechnologies. The project integrates vital engagement activities along the innovation value chain: at the level of research policy, research & development (R&D), and the diffusion of nanotechnology innovations in society.

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The aim of REACH-nano Help Desk (external link)is to develop a web-based REACH toolkit to support the chemical safety assessment of nanomaterials. The toolkit will take into account the needs and specifications of end-users and stakeholders, including advanced functionalities that will support industry and authorities to fulfil their tasks under REACH. The REACH-nano Help Desk project supports the implementation of the REACH regulation for nanomaterials. 

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The Global-NanoMaPPP addresses safety of nanomaterials in a transparent, trustful and coherent collaboration between industry, public authorities, scientists and other stakeholders: It forms a joint initiative to regulatory compliance on the responsible, sustainable development of nanomaterials, with the view to fostering innovation through safe commercialisation of nanomaterials and products containing nanomaterials.

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Update July 2014 Several scientific publications from this NanoRelease project have been published (and are freely available) in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, issue 4, July 2014. The following are the five publications:

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Nanotechnologies are capable of introducing promising applications that could impact upon our daily lives; it is through the visualisation and control of matter at the scale of a billionth of a metre that allows nanotechnologies to modify and enhance the properties of products across all industry sectors. Even though nanotechnologies have immense potential, they are only in their infancy and have yet to reach full maturity. When considering the changes they could bring, it must be asked: are nanotechnologies going to reduce the rich-poor divide, or will they have the opposite effect?

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Netzwerk NanoSilber (Nanosilver Network) consists of eleven partners in Germany who are mainly small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as collaborating research organizations, foundations and associations. The network's activities focus on the responsible development of nanosilver products, taking into account technical, economic, ecological and medical aspects.

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The OECD Working Party of Manufactured Nanomaterials (OECD WPMN), established in 2006 under the OECD Chemicals Committee, focuses on issues related to nanomaterials impacting human and environmental health and safety; it comprises both governmental delegates from those ministries and agencies, which are responsible for the human and environmental health and policies and regulation, as

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