1. Risk analysis and technology assessment

Nanotechnology offers possibilities to increase the quality of life. At the same time the past has shown us that ‘unknowns’ about potential human, environmental and societal risks are raised. Attempts to address these ‘unknowns’ are generally carried out in the privacy of discussions about risks.

 

However, proceeding in this way will lead to questions being raised about safety issues that come along with innovations at too late a stage of innovation, and hinder the full exploitation of potential benefits. Authorities and industry want to know which information is pivotal to assess whether a nanomaterial or nanotech application is safe.

To ascertain whether a nanomaterial or nanotech application is safe smart approaches are required to reduce these uncertainties to acceptable levels as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, the interaction between innovators and those dealing with these issues should be improved in order to allow safety and societal discussions keep better pace with innovation processes. An interdisciplinary approach is required, with research that pushes boundaries, and maps out existing risk analyses of effects in the arena of health, safety and the environment.

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Theme coordinator
Dr. Adrienne J. Sips (RIVM)

This theme contains the following programmes:

1A Human health risks
1B Environmental risks
1C Technology assessment

The two sections within this theme are Risk analysis and Impact on society. The objective of the risk analysis is to gather information, which leads to the development of an efficient assessment strategy and to apply this in various research themes (for example, nanomedicine, clean water). Universally practicable results from different studies are applied. In addition to this, the impact of nanotechnology on society plays a key role. This helps bridge the gap between scientifically innovative research and societal impact. The realisation of this objective is a major challenge for nanoscientists, technologists, industry, policy makers, and societal parties. An interdisciplinary approach is required, with research that pushes boundaries, and maps out existing risk analyses of effects in the arena of health, safety and the environment.

Contact at NanoNextNL Foundation for theme 1:  Leon Gielgens

Watch the introduction video on the importance of risk analysis and technology assessment in micro and nanotechnology

Programmes