Many stakeholders are involved in activities such as research, development, production, use, recycling/final disposal processes, and regulatory management throughout the life cycle of engineered nanomaterials. One important aspect is to promote the integration of safety early in the innovation process. Through our stakeholder workshops, we have found that understanding and assessment are absent with regard to current practice for the governance needed for rapid learning and responsible nanomaterial innovation. There is also a lack of examples as to how Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is managed in practice (safe by design, precautionary principle, etc). Furthermore, we identified a need to develop an understanding of the current experiences of the various stakeholders on how to innovate responsibly. As a result, SweNanoSafe commissioned a preliminary study to address these issues, and the assignment was carried out by Action Research Center for a Resilient Society (Gothenburg, Sweden). Rune Karlsson at SweNanoSafe authored the present executive summary based on the study report by Sari Scheinberg and Sverker Alänge at Action Research Center.
The executive summary is available here.
Highlights from the study:
Seven main recommendations for action were proposed, on sustainable ENM development, safe innovation, and safe handling of ENM (Table 3, page 14).
A “Safety Network” was proposed in which stakeholders could learn safety practices, and how to comply with chemicals legislation (CLP, REACH) from each other. SweNanoSafe could facilitate such a network.
A need among start-ups/SMEs regarding more formal education on CLP, REACH was identified. Applying regulation correctly and in a timely manner shortens time to market. SweNanoSafe has initiated an education network, for example to facilitate a greater understanding and compliance with regulations.
The OECD report on a strategy for Safe(r) Innovation Approach, is recommended as a basis for national improvement in the area. A suggestion is the development of so-called Trusted Environments encouraging open communication between industry and regulators.