The commercial application of nanomaterials (NMs) products is increasing rapidly, but one important aspect, the safety of NMs, still represents a barrier to their wide innovative use. Therefore the first priority of SIINN is to focus on developing a consolidated framework to address nano-related risks and the management of these risks for humans and the environment by investigating the toxicological behaviour of NMs. R&D activities in the Member and Associated States of the EU in the area of N&N remain largely uncoordinated and fragmented, resulting in the sub-optimal use of available resources, such as human resources, research equipment and funding. Since available data on their toxicological behaviour is often scant, unreliable or contradictory, the SIINN Project will focus on ways of remedying this situation. The SIINN-ERA-NET has also joined the EU NanoSafety Cluster, which is a DG RTD NMP initiative to maximize the synergies between existing FP6 and FP7 projects and addresses all aspects of nanosafety http://www.nanosafetycluster.eu.
After defining the criteria important for NM toxicology, the environmental health and safety (EHS) information currently available to Europe will be examined. Liaisons will strategically be established and maintained. They will network with organisations looking into the EHS of NMs within Europe and abroad with the aim of continually exchanging information with these. Available information will be examined for their reliability in respect of the assessment of the risks of NMs towards human health and to the environment and major knowledge gaps identified. At least two joint, transnational calls will be organised during the initial lifetime of SIINN in order to fill these gaps.
For the initiation of research projects with the aim of rapidly acquiring specific nanosafety-relevant research data for areas where knowledge gaps are already known and where the information demand is acute a “Fast Track” mechanism has been installed. The “Fast Track” mechanism will be applied to a maximum of three identified, high-priority areas (i.e. a maximum of three projects).
SIINN started on August 1, 2011 and will run for three years. A total EU funding of € 1.5 mill. will enable 19 partners to coordinate their activities, prepare two calls for proposals and disseminate the knowledge acquired during the lifetime of the project.