NewsHARMLESS @ NMBP-13 Final Conference

HARMLESS @ NMBP-13 Final Conference

With the ending of the NMBP-13 projects NANORIGO, RiskGONE and Gov4Nano, and in collaboration with the OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN), a final conference was organised to help shape international approaches to addressing future challenges in risk governance of nano- & advanced materials, including Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design (SSbD) and harmonisation and standardisation. Under the title “Future-proof Approaches for Risk Governance – Lessons Learned from Nanomaterials”, the main aim of the conference was to ensure that results from the three projects are taken up to support the implementation of the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), and to address future challenges in risk governance of new- and advanced materials.

The conference comprised two parts: one in person conference, just for invited participants, at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris on the 24th and 25th January 2023; and a second one, an online session, open to everybody, on 31st January 2023.

The fundamental premise of the 3 NMBP-13 projects is that governance must be inclusive. Therefore, the final conference was open to all stakeholders that can contribute to the discussion and are involved in ongoing initiatives related to the CSS and/or (risk) governance of advanced materials.

The conference used use interactive roundtables to present and discuss their key results and recommendations with a broad international audience of relevant stakeholders. The outcomes from these discussions are expected to complement and support the work of other stakeholders and initiatives on risk governance of nano- and advanced materials, including improved governance practices, harmonisation and standardisation approaches, data management (and FAIR data), accessibility of tools, instruments and guidance via an online portal, and effective organisation of risk governance.

Lots of representatives from NGOs, industry, research organisations, EC, EU Member States and experts from the OECD WPMN, joined the successful conference.

HARMLESS was also well represented in the conference as it might be very relevant for our outcomes:

  • NRCWE (Keld Alstrup Jensen) and TNO (Wouter Fransman), as members of the NMBP-13 Core Group on the nano-risk governance portal and tools, co-hosted the Roundtable on “Risk Governance Portal and Tools”. The “Joint NMBP-13 portal”, which was presented and demonstrated, is meant to be a platform for collecting, among others, a library of tools, databases, standards and regulation, with the aim to create an open web-site providing an inventory of relevant risk governance elements available for the community. Furthermore, a community structure for sustaining the portal was discussed, in which new and ongoing projects, such as HARMLESS, could actively contribute to expanding the website with e.g., new SbD and SSbD tools, etc. coming from different projects (NMBP-15, – 16, …). The NMBP-13 nano-risk governance portal is still in development. For HARMLESS, the portal has a dual potential: 1) library of tools and other resources and 2) a site to deposit HARMLESS results and expand the accessibility and visibility. Moreover, the election of the tools being offered via the portal was also discussed, in order to offer a solution that ensures quality and transparency of the tools, as well as avoids abuses. Additionally, a scoring/rating system of the tools is also being considered. The maintenance of the portal, which is assured for the upcoming 5 years, was also discussed and several options are being considered (subscription model, direct funding from a regulator or government body).
  • TNO (Wouter Fransman) participated in the Roundtable on “Organisation of Risk Governance”, where the concept of a “House”, as a structure to facilitate the discussion of all relevant issues around nanomaterials between different stakeholders , was presented and different options were discussed.
  • IDEA (Nina Jeliazkova), HARMLESS data manager, was part of the organising team of the Roundtable on ”Data Management (FAIR Data)”. During this session, the progress made on FAIR data on the safety of nano- and advanced materials was presented. Additionally, it was discussed which actions could bring this further, including creating incentives, increasing the amount of accessible data, increasing the reuse of data, removing obstacles to reuse data, etc. The Data Management and FAIR data topic is very relevant for HARMLESS, as the project will produce and reuse data that needs to be FAIR.
  • Several partners from HARMLESS (TNO (Susan Dekkers) and NRCWE (Ulla Vogel)) joined the Roundtable on ”Harmonisation & Standardisation”, where their plans of establishing a platform for the harmonisation and standardisation of test guidelines and guidance was discussed. Furthermore, the aims of the platform, the roadmap towards the platform and the funding for the platform were discussed.
  • Additionally, Nina Jeliazkova (IDEA) gave an oral presentation on ”Data reuse: practical examples” during the conference.
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