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Scientific Methodology and Work Packages

NanoSustain Work Programme

The work programme is divided into six work packages (WP):

WP1 – project management

This WP will organize and coordinate the consortium and the planned work to achieve project objectives, implement tasks, mobilize the necessary personnel and equipment, monitor technical progress, and ensure reporting and quality assurance according to the main topics of the work programme, scope of the work, time schedule, and costs.

WP2 - data gathering, generation, evaluation and validation

A database will be created describing the hazardous properties, environmental relevance and impact of the set of selected nanomaterials. This will be generated through the following four tasks:

  • data gathering – from international literature, chemical databases, and specific data from participating industrial partners;
  • identification of data gaps and generation of missing data (from work in subsequent work packages);
  • data evaluation and categorization according to different material and environmental attributes such as toxicology, ecotoxicology, degradability, exposure and fate, and relevance for LCA, and for the use, recycling and final treatment of selected nanomaterials;
  • data validation - inter-calibration exercises and inter-laboratory cross-checking will be performed on new material data generated within the project.

WP3 - hazard characterization and impact assessment

This has a number of objectives:

  • generating powders of the selected set of nanomaterials for consequent testing;
  • measuring the physico-chemical properties that are relevant for toxicology and ecotoxicology, and concentrations of nanoparticles from handling pristine materials, post-production materials and in the environment;
  • producing data on human exposure to nanoparticles during handling of post-production materials;
  • establishing dose-response relationships of critical end-points for health effects of nanoparticle containing post-production dusts in mice and comparison with pristine materials;
  • evaluating the suitability of current ecotoxicology test methods for environmental risk assessment of selected nanomaterials, and producing dose-response relationships of critical ecotoxicological end-points;
  • identifying existing methods and tools from the chemicals sector that can be, or are already being, applied to assess and manage the risks to people and the environment from manufactured nanomaterials;
  • identifying knowledge gaps in the manufactured nanomaterials lifecycle where adequate risk assessment methods are not currently available, and develop techniques that will be required to address and fill these gaps;
  • developing and testing an accurate and repeatable analytical method that can detect and quantify one or more classes of nanoparticles in environmental matrices and apply these methods to real samples;
  • analysing the prevalence and level of nanoparticle use in industry as well as the potential for exposure of the population to engineered nanoparticles;
  • creating standardized protocols for nanoparticle characterization, to ensure consistency and quality control across laboratories.

WP4 - life cycle assessment and prospective technological assessment

This builds on the results from WP2 and WP3:

  • developing methods for extrapolation and scaling-up of processes of engineered nanoparticles;
  • developing specific exposure models for engineered nanoparticles;
  • assessing positive and negative effects on the environment during different life cycle stages of selected nanoproducts;
  • developing criteria and guiding principles to foster the precautionary design of engineered nanomaterials and guidelines for improved recyclability;
  • testing these guidelines to explore new solutions for the sustainable use, recycling and final treatment of selected nanomaterials.

WP5 - development of innovative solutions for recycling and final treatment

This will provide new solutions for sustainable recycling and final treatment of the selected nanotechnology-based materials and products, and establish general principles and criteria for the improvement of end-of-life processes of nanomaterials. A combination of different laboratory processes will be used including composting (nanocellulose products), melting (nano zinc oxide containing glass), waste incineration (CNT composites) and leaching of nanomaterials from laboratory models of landfill sites.

WP6 - dissemination and exploitation of results

Activities will include providing access to project results through reports published on the project website, and engagement with project partners through workshops, dissemination events and an online forum.

Work packages interaction and responsibilities

The following diagram provides an overview of the project work packages, leaders and responsibilities:

  Work packages interaction and responsibilities


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 247989.

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