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Increasing the capacity to perform nano-safety assessment


Specific challenge: Systems biology, high throughput screening and toxicogenomics approaches have the potential to revolutionise how chemical substances, including nanomaterials, are assessed for regulatory and risk management purposes. A paradigm shift in toxicology using innovative techniques such as High Thoughput Screening (HTS) approaches, Toxicogenomics and High Content Analysis (HCA) is being established. With such approaches it is possible to identify underlying affected pathways (so called ‘toxicity pathways’). The challenge is to develop and demonstrate a mechanism-based understanding of toxicity, which will enable improved toxicity testing by identifying novel endpoints essential to tailor-made first tier hazard and risk assessment of novel and emerging materials.

Scope: Projects should enhance the understanding of the mechanisms underlying any observed adverse effects from engineered nanomaterials, and ultimately link the potential for such adverse effects to specific physical or chemical nano scale properties.

They should establish and demonstrate the basis for the development of appropriate tools to maximise read across (taxa and nano properties) and assess which tools or endpoints may not necessarily be applicable across the board. These approaches should aim to support the grouping of nanomaterials, to help in developing intelligent testing strategies and identifying ""nanomaterials or properties of concern"" that need to be tested more thoroughly.

Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Level 4.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

•    New screening tools to enhance the efficiency of end-rate at which nanomaterial hazard profiling can be performed

•     Facilitate faster definition of nanomaterials toxicity mechanisms

•    Enable “safer by design” approaches, tailored to stakeholders’ needs (modellers, industry and regulators)

•   Data in a recognised and accessible database for use beyond the lifetime of the project

•   Provision of solutions to the long-term challenges of nanosafety and nanoregulation

Type of action: Research and Innovation Actions