Intelligent testing strategies for engineered nanomaterials

S. Pozzi Mucelli, D. Balharry, V. Stone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The exciting properties exhibited by materials at the nano-scale have led to the development of vast numbers of different types of nanomaterials for a wide variety of applications. Such applications include medicines, cosmetics, sunscreens, clothing, food, food packaging, sporting equipment, paints and electronics. In fact, almost any application can include nanotechnology in some context. This has led to potential concerns about the safety of such nanomaterials due to the increasing likelihood of exposure to both humans and the environment. The unusual properties of nanomaterials make it difficult to predict their biological reactivity, making it essential to be able to assess the risk associated with their use. National governments and the European Commission recognised the potential benefits of nanotechnology at a relatively early stage in their development, but at the same time they realised that for this potential to be maximised, the issues of risk needed to be better understood. However, we still lack sufficient knowledge to allow effective risk assessment of nanomaterials to be used by industry, regulators and for scientific research. In order to capitalise upon the research knowledge available and in production, the European Commission has funded a project entitled 'Intelligent Testing Strategy for Engineered Nanomaterials - ITS-NANO'. ITS-NANO is a pan-European project aimed at identifying the most appropriate and effective research required to deliver an Intelligent Testing Strategy (ITS) for assessing exposure, hazard and the potential risks of engineered nanomaterials. Using the combination of an extensive gap analysis combined with expert opinion, ITS-NANO has already identified a range of research and knowledge gaps in data management, physicochemical properties of nanomaterials, exposure assessment, hazard assessment (toxicology and ecotoxicology) and risk assessment. A key focus across a number of these categories is the need for improved technologies, for harmonised protocols across a range of nanomaterials and scenarios, for the development of in silico tools, and for high throughput implementation of experimental procedures. The full gap analysis is available at the project website, The ITS is now being designed to describe a research trajectory aimed at addressing the knowledge gaps and taking steps to greatly reduce the amount of uncertainty affecting this area of research. The strategy will be discussed with stakeholders from Europe and United States, integrating industry, regulators and scientists during a meeting in March, to be launched in May 2013. The ITS will be a fluid document which can be adapted as new information emerges and the current knowledge gaps are filled, and will provide a direction for new research to meet the increasing demands for risk assessment of nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnical Proceedings of the 2013 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Expo, NSTI-Nanotech 2013
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2013
EventNanotechnology 2013: Bio Sensors, Instruments, Medical, Environment and Energy - 2013 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Expo, NSTI-Nanotech 2013 - Washington, DC, United States
Duration: 12 May 201316 May 2013


ConferenceNanotechnology 2013: Bio Sensors, Instruments, Medical, Environment and Energy - 2013 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Expo, NSTI-Nanotech 2013
CountryUnited States
CityWashington, DC


  • Grouping
  • Intelligent testing strategies
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanosafety
  • Risk assessment


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