Dissemination and impact
General approach: The partners represent a multidisciplinary and trans-sectorially group including universities, research institutions and companies. Together they create a network with outstanding broad expertise in many areas of environment and health research, and they have an excellent network of collaborators and experts in Europe. Through NanoImpactNet, the platform involving practically all European experts and institutions dealing with different aspects of engineered NP (coordinated by partner 7), young researchers will have the opportunity to actively participate in all relevant workshops, in order to obtain newest knowledge, but also to establish and maintain contact with international experts with similar or complementary research interests. They will also present talks based on their own research and thus will become recognised in the field. They will of course also get networking experience through the NanoTOES project.
Management of knowledge and intellectual property: Methods and equipments developed by NanoTOES constitute significant intellectual property, which will reach beyond the state-of-the-art and will have commercial value. The principles of joint data ownership and intellectual property will be considered according to best practice. All IPR issues will be finalised in the Consortium Agreement. Intellectual property will be managed on an equitable basis by the partners who generate the knowledge, bearing in mind that the project is collaborative in nature. IPR regulation will follow the European Commission’s “Booklet on the use of intellectual property rights in projects funded by the EC’s FP7” and guidelines of the Commission’s IPR-Helpdesk. Information about the efficient “nano-tagging” system of the European Patent Office will be passed to all partners. Host institutions will ensure that researchers at all career stages profit from the exploitation of their R&D results through legal protection and, in particular, through appropriate protection of IP rights, including copyrights.
Use of results: The industrial partners will of course make use of new developments, and the MC will also communicate with existing industrial contacts and stimulate new ones to facilitate commercialisation. The trans-sectorial partnerships established during the ITN within and outside of the consortium will ensure optimal use of results.
Dissemination of knowledge generated during the project: The dissemination of scientific results occurs at four levels: Within the consortium, to the scientific community, to the general public, and to industry. All aspects will be supervised by the MC members in charge of communication and public relations, which will implement the principles of the European Charter for Researchers. The dissemination within the consortium will be on a daily basis via the NanoTOES website. Communication to the scientific community will primarily take place via publications in peer-reviewed journals and by presentations during scientific conferences. Communication with industry will be via presentations of NanoTOES at trade shows, invitation of industry representatives to the open conferences, and in connection with training activities also by organising industry training days for fellows. The general public will be informed in a proactive way by press releases and special information materials for journalists. The NanoTOES website will also be used as an information medium for the public. We consider it essential that the fellows are integrated into the dissemination strategy, for example by being required to contribute regular articles on relevant topics in nanosafety to the public website. The website will remain active after the conclusion of NanoTOES.
Contribution to best practice: The objective of the training programme is to fully support young scientists in the development of their career through a multidisciplinary oriented research project within NanoTOES and by using supporting activities of ongoing research and training projects in the partner institutions. The demanding research tasks provide an excellent opportunity for the career development in this new field. An important part of the programme will be hands-on training to improve scientific and laboratory skills by learning, developing and optimising novel techniques of molecular, cellular and genetic toxicology applicable in nanotoxicology. There will be a focus on new testing strategies and developing novel biomarkers which can detect mechanisms of toxicity. To fulfil these tasks young researchers will be trained to obtain new theoretical and practical knowledge in new emerging areas of research. While improving their knowledge and skills, they will also develop the scientific, management and teaching abilities as well as other useful complementary skills.
Contribution to policy developments: Results published on toxicity of nanomaterials show that many NP induce cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, genotoxicity and inflammatory responses, but there are many uncertainties and conflicting results in the literature. It is becoming increasingly clear that new strategies for testing nanosized materials, differing from those employed with conventional chemicals, have to be developed. This project will significantly contribute to this demand by developing a novel approach to toxicity testing in vitro by mimicking in vivo conditions and thus will contribute to European excellence and will strengthen European competitiveness. The various models developed will contribute to 3Rs, to minimise testing on animals. The results will contribute to improving European public health protection, and will be crucially important for formulating policies on nanotechnology, to ensure the safety of environment and health.
Contribution to policy objective: Full partners 10 (ACS) and 11 (Grimm) are SME with outstanding competence in toxicological assessment of nanomaterials and in manufacture of equipment for measuring airborne NP, respectively. Full level 1 partner 12 (Bayer), Bayer Technology Services GmbH, a Bayer AG company, is a capable supplier of technology solutions for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries with close ties to operators. The full integration of the three industrial partners in the research and training network of NanoTOES provides the opportunity to train all fellows in adopting GLP practices followed in an industrial environment.
Contribution to innovations: All three industrial partners are level 1 partners which will employ fellows for their own projects. These projects are science-driven but also constitute translational research and aim at improving the competitiveness of the companies in the global market. The competences of academic and private sector partners within the NanoTOES consortium complement each other and strengthen the entire research programme through exchange of people, methods, materials and ideas. The consortium is thus is a position to assess and exploit innovations produced in the cutting-edge projects performed by the fellows in academic and industrial environments.
Risk assessment and related communication strategy: Researchers should at all times adopt safe working practices, in line with national legislation, including taking the necessary precautions for health and safety and for recovery from information technology disasters, e.g. by preparing proper back-up strategies. They should also be familiar with the current national legal requirements regarding data protection and confidentiality protection requirements, and undertake the necessary steps to fulfil them at all times. Besides of personnel working with NP, risk perception by the public will be addressed. Risks involved in handling NP, but in particular risks due to the use of products containing nanomaterials and due to the unintentional exposure of humans and environment are an area of concern for the general public. In addition to dissemination measures aiming at the public in general (e.g., via the homepage) or at journalists (e.g., via handouts for the media) we will aim to give lay persons a hands-on feeling for nanotechnology, including full information on benefits, risks, and safety assurance strategies. All fellows will be involved in Open Door Events aiming at informing the general public about research issues in nanosafety. Active participation in such events will aid in developing organisational and communication skills of the fellows, which is an important capability demanded from a future expert in this area.