ACEnano: Analytical and Characterisation Excellence in nanomaterial risk assessment - A tiered approach
Nanomaterials are very diverse groups of materials with greatly varying properties. Nowadays, an increasing number of them are entering the market in every day products spanning from healthcare and leisure to electronics, cosmetics and foodstuff. However, the novelty and variety in properties and forms of nanomaterials makes the elaboration of a well-founded and robust legislative framework to ensure safe development of nano-enabled products particularly challenging.
At the heart of the challenge lies the difficulty in the reliable and reproducible characterisation of nanomaterials given their extreme diversity and dynamic nature, particularly in complex conditions, such as within different biological, environmental and technological compartments.
To resolve this, ACEnano project will bring together an impressive and substantial partnership of 26 experts from research and industry who will work together during the next four years to introduce confidence, adaptability and clarity into nanomaterial risk assessment by developing a widely implementable and robust tiered approach to nanomaterial physicochemical characterisation that will simplify and facilitate contextual (hazard or exposure) description and its transcription into a reliable nanomaterials grouping framework.
This will be achieved by the creation of the “ACEnano virtual toolbox” including reliable, innovative and optimised analytical techniques, instrumentation and equipment for the testing of nanomaterials properties/descriptors and a decision tree to guide users (specially SMEs) through selection of the most appropriate (combination of) methods to address their specific research or regulatory question and where to find it (ACEnano core labs, EU nanosafety cluster…).
As part of Horizon 2020 framework, ACEnano embodies the long term vision of the European Union for sustainable development, which is defined as a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In 2015, the United Nations adopted the global 2030 Agenda providing a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ambition of ACEnano to set standards on characterization of nanomaterials finds echo in a large umbrella of SDGs. It includes participating in the preventive effort to substantially reduce the impact of nanomaterials on individual health (SDG 3), on water quality (SDG 6) and on the environment (SDG 14 and 15). Furthermore, the international ACEnano framework is dedicated to promote development and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies (SDG 9) and to share knowledge through multi-stakeholder partnerships (SDG 17).
Project duration: 01-01-2017 to 31-12-2020 (48 months)
Coordinator: Prof. Éva Valsami-Jones, University of Birmingham