International Council on Nanotechnology reports research needs assessment

May 1, 2008 — As nanoscale particles have been incorporated into commercially available materials such as paints and coatings, fears have arisen about unintended consequences. Today, the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) unveiled the results of an effort launched last year to share information and combine efforts toward efficient, timely international research.

In 2007 ICON brought together more than 70 experts from 13 countries for two workshops aimed at defining a set of research needs for assessing potential nanotechnology impacts. Participants came from academia, industry, government, and non-governmental agencies. The group worked together to produce a global research strategy for predicting the interactions between engineered nanoparticles and biological systems at the molecular level so that biocompatible nanomaterials can be developed and applied safely.

The effort was funded by ICON and the National Science Foundation, and its results will be discussed today, May 1, when ICON — in partnership with the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies — releases a report called International Assessment of Nanotechnology Environment, Health and Safety Research Needs. The report details findings of the two workshops.

A recorded webcast of the event is available. Speakers included Dr. Kristen M. Kulinowski of ICON; Dr. Sally Tinkle, Science Advisor to the Acting Director, NIEHS/NIH; Dr. Michael Thompson, Business Development Manager-Nanotechnology, FEI Company; Dr. Richard Denison, Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund; and Dr. Andrew Maynard, Chief Science Advisor to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.

The International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) is an international, multi-stakeholder organization based at Rice University. Its mission is to develop and communicate information regarding potential environmental and health risks of nanotechnology thereby fostering risk reduction while maximizing societal benefit. The council has evolved into a network of scholars, industrialists, government officials and public interest advocates who share information and perspectives on a broad range of issues at the intersection of nanotechnology and environment, health and safety. ICON maintains a public portal for information on nanomaterial environment, health and safety (EHS).


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