SRA NanoSafety Cluster

On June 21st , over 20 SRA World Congress members attended a kickoff meeting between SRA and the European NanoSafety Cluster.

Chaired by Drs. Danail Hristozov and Igor Linkov, the meeting served as the launchpoint of the Society for Risk Analysis’ NanoSafety Cluster (SRANSC), which will effectively align several SRA specialty groups with the objectives of the EU NanoSafety Cluster.

The tasks of the new SRANSC were proposed as threefold, including:

(1) advancing the nano-EHS science and policy,
(2) information exchange & dissemination, and
(3) training & education for nanoparticle risk and governance applications

Building off of this framework, the initial round table meeting at World Congress primarily addressed both the scope of focus on nanotechnology along with anticipated deliverables produced by cluster members. With regards to the intellectual scope of the research cluster, it was concluded that members would focus on improving the understanding of risk governance paradigms and strategies for manufactured nanomaterials, where such strategies continue to evolve in the midst of high uncertainty and extreme limitations of objective environmental, health, and safety information. Where governments around the world (including the US and EU) have funded significant efforts to bridge scientific and technological gaps to improve manufactured nanoparticle safety, meeting attendees noted that a more comprehensive and global focus on the various governance methods used for such nanomaterials is required to meet the uncertainties and limitations currently rife throughout various technology products and applications.

To contribute to this ongoing and international discussion, meeting attendees noted the opportunity for the SRANSC alongside the European NanoSafety Cluster to offer several tangible deliverables in order to advance the scientific and technological understanding of manufactured nanoparticles, their uncertainties, and the various government strategies to mitigate or overcome these hazards and uncertainties. Among others, these include:

i)  White Paper – 10-15 page paper detailing the various governance strategies and paradigms used to expound upon the risk management tools to govern manufactured nanomaterials. Such strategies range from cost benefit analysis to risk communication and formal decision analytic tools. The paper’s results will be disseminated at SRA’s Annual Meeting in 2015 and 2016, and will be further disseminated to SRA members worldwide through a new webinar series via the SRANSC.

ii) Webinars – cluster members will participate in roundtable discussions and give presentations geared towards expanding knowledge of manufactured nanomaterial risk governance. Drawing from an international body of experts in North America, Europe, and Asia, various strategies from different governmental systems will be considered and discussed. SRA members across the globe will be able to view and participate.

iii) Additional round table meetings/workshops – In-person meetings (beginning tentatively Fall 2015) will be held by cluster members as a part of the next US-EU Nano-EHS CoRs workshop. The webinars noted above will supplement this meeting/workshop to disseminate findings and further discussion on these topics to SRA members.

The anticipation of this research cluster is to provide a wide body of information that could be used in a variety of national and international applications. Drawing from an international body of experts as witnessed at the initial kickoff meeting will offer SRA’s latest research cluster a rare opportunity to disseminate information and draw discussion from an international audience ranging from North America and Europe to Australia and East Asia – a highly beneficial enterprise in the midst of a rapidly developing field in commerce, industry, and medicine.