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A central challenge to ensure the sustainable production and use of nanotechnologies is to understand the risks for environment, health and safety associated with this technology and resulting materials and products (engineered nanomaterials), and to identify and implement practical strategies to minimise these risks. Knowledge about nanotechnology-enabled processes and products and related nanosafety issues (hazards, fate, risk...) is growing rapidly, achieved through numerous European or national programs launched over the last decade, but effective use of this knowledge for risk management by market actors is lagging behind.

The EC4SafeNano initiative will bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and the market. It will link the nanosafety scientific community, including expert institutes/organizations active in translational research, with the wider stakeholder community. The EC4SafeNano partnership will set up a structure to integrate nanosafety services across the member states and propose them to market actors. It will thus provide an interface between the scientific community and the market actors.

EC4SafeNano seeks to develop ‘fit-for-purpose’ solutions and provide access to reliable data and experience to help solve the environment, health and safety challenges that hinder the development of safe and sustainable innovation for nanotechnology. EC4SafeNano further seeks to establish principles for safe management of nanotechnology and to assist public and private organizations and industry in the application of these principles.

Most of the EC4SafeNano core partners are national expert institutes/organizations which already provide expert support and services to industry and other private actors, public authorities and regulatory bodies. The EC4SafeNano core group invites any interested organization to take part in the initiative as an Associated Partner, helping to design the future European Centre and to establish harmonized approaches for the proposed solutions and services. The Associated Partners will be active at the European level through their participation in thematic Focus Networks. They will act as ‘ambassadors’ towards the member state where they are based.