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Unveiling the Future of Innovation – Nanotechnology at the Crossroads of Converging Technologies

AcumenIST Dr Steffi Friedrichs participated in a panel discussion on ‘Challenges and Opportunities in Open Innovation for Materials Modelling’ at a recent conference on ‘Open Innovation for Materials Modelling, Design and Manufacturing’ (OIP-2023), held at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) on the 19. – 20. October 2023.

It was noted that materials modelling will increase in importance, in order to provide a connection between the laboratory-based research and innovation (R&I) process, and the increasing digitalisation and digital twinning of both the processes of R&I, as well as their resulting products. She noted that data-driven models will – and should – gain importance and applicability, hopefully finally allowing to firmely base the R&I of both a materials functionality and its possible adverse impacts on humans and the environment on existing data.

The panel concluded that data-driven modelling methods will not replace the physical materials modeller any time soon, but that it should be embraced as a complementary approach that can enrich and improve both the process and results of matetrials modelling.

‘The physical materials modeller is not dead, but may wish to decide to age gracefully!’

[Dr Steffi Friedrichs, ‘Open Innovation for Materials Modelling, Design and Manufacturing’ (OIP-2023)]

The MACRAM√Č Project took centre stage at the recent conference on ‘Open Innovation for Materials Modelling, Design and Manufacturing’ (OIP-2023), held at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) on the 19. – 20. October 2023.

Under the Title ‘Nanotechnology at the Crossroads of Converging Technologies: Unveiling the Future of Innovation’, Dr Steffi Friedrichs provided an introduction to today’s demands on chemical and material innovation, and subsequently illustrated the challenges that these demands posed to the community of safety and sustainability experts, highlighting the European Commission’s provision of a framework for ‘Safe and sustainable by design chemicals and materials’ (EC JRC, 2022).

Dr Friedrichs went on to explain the significant contributions and impact that the nanotechnology & nanomaterials (safety) community had made to the development of the concept of Safe (and Sustainable) by Design, notably through the early establishment of policy-informing harmonisation communities (i.e. OECD WPMN), standardisation committees (i.e. CEN/TC 352 and ISO/TC 229 among others), and an overall regulatory relevance of nanotechnology/nanomaterials safety research conducted in publicly funded projects. In the course of these unprecedented efforts, the community created 215 standardisation and harmonisation documents, identified numerous more such documents that are required and is on track to address these in a range of collaborative regulatory relevant projects across Europe.

By way of a conclusion, Dr Friedrichs introduced the current MACRAM√Č Project on ‘Advanced Characterisation Methodologies to assess and predict the Health and Environmental Risks of Advanced Materials’, which aims to address the following objectives:

  • detect, characterise and quantify Advanced Materials (AdMas) during handling and processing along the product life-cycle,
  • assess potential impacts on (human) health and the environment in intended or unintended exposure situations (i.e. ‚ÄėExposure Points‚Äô) in the product value-chain,
  • advance the wide-spread applicability of the developed test and characterisation methods, by demonstrating their effectiveness and efficiency in the context of existing, market-relevant industrial AdMas containing products, and
  • prepare and initiate standardisation, harmonisation and technological & regulatory validation of test- and characterisation-methods.

Follow these link to find out more about the MACRAM√Č Project, or the ‘Open Innovation for Materials Modelling, Design and Manufacturing’ (OIP-2023).

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