Industrially produced nanoparticles offer potential for a wide range of products. Further research regarding the impacts of nanoparticles on people and the environment is needed. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds projects together with industry to fill knowledge gaps and to initiate measures to identify and minimize risk. The goal of these projects is to find methods for an early assessment of the impact of nanoparticles on human health and the environment.
Within the framework of WING , the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has called for proposals on „NanoNature: Nanotechnologies for Environmental Protection – Benefits and Impacts“ and „NanoCare: Impacts of Synthetic Nanomaterials on Man“. By filling some further gaps in our knowledge on the effects of nanomaterials on man and the environment as well as on the related interactions, these projects will contribute to ensuring a safe, responsible use of nanotechnology in the German industry. In 2009-2012 20 projects are supported and be funded by a total sum of EUR 36 million.
NanoCare intends to further investigate systematically the human-toxicological effects and interactions occurring during the production, processing, and application of synthetic nanomaterials. External and internal exposures will be quantified, material-specific toxicity parameters will be determined, and mechanisms of action will be identified to detect and predict possible toxic effects on humans along the life cycle of the investigated nanomaterials.
NanoCare projects: CarbonBlack, CarboTox, NanoExpo, NanoGEM, NanoKon, NanoMed, Nanosilver particles
NanoNature is aimed at strengthening potential nanomaterial market segments in the environmental field and at enhancing the export of environmentally relevant materials and technologies. In addition, systematic analyses will be carried out and adapted measuring methods will be developed to assess the release, distribution, fate, and effect of synthetic nanoparticles and nanomaterials in the environment.
NanoNature projects: Fe-NANOSIT, NADINE, NanoFlow, NanoKiesel (finished), NanoMembrane, NanoPharm, NanoPurification, NanoSan, Nano-SCR, NanoTrack, NAPASAN, UMSICHT
The EU also funds many projects on the effects of nanoparticles on human health and the environment.
The cluster NanoSafety published annually since 2010 a summary of projects funded:
"Compendium of Projects in the European NanoSafety Cluster", 2nd version February 2011, updated 3rd version February 2012 (pdf-documents for download).
QNano, the European Union-funded infrastructure for nanomaterial safety testing. A four year project which begins in February 2011 comprises 27 top European analytical & experimental facilities in nanotechnology, medicine and natural sciences. It aims to create an integrated hub to support Europe’s nanosafety research community.
The Swiss National Research Programme "Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials" (NRP 64) hopes to be able to bridge the gaps in our current knowledge on nanomaterials. Opportunities and risks for human health and the environment in relation to the manufacture, use and disposal of synthetic nanomaterials need to be better understood.