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Posted: May 31, 2012
Developments in Regulation and Standard for Nanotechnologies: The ObservatoryNANO 2012 Report
(Nanowerk News) The 4th and final ObservatoryNANO Report on Regulation and Standard for Nanotechnologies is now available online. It provides a concise overview of initiatives in more than 20 countries, worldwide, with reference to hard regulation, voluntary measures, standards and international cooperation in the field.
The key lesson from the report: Promoting responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), using multistakeholder approaches and addressing EHS, ELSA and regulatory issues throughout the entire lifecycle of products.
The past 4 years, the duration of the ObservatoryNANO project, have seen the rise of a real momentum on the debate on nanotechnology governance. The situation is continuously evolving. Relevant activities have been undertaken to deepen and clarify EHS and ELSA issues, develop best practices, guidelines, standards, foster international cooperation. Improved implementation tools and specific requirements for nanotechnologies have been introduced in some regulatory regimes, and other are planned in the near future. A particular attention is given to "upstream" regulation (nanomaterials) and regulation of products coming into direct contact with humans or animals.
Also the attitude of stakeholders (research, industry, policy makers) has, generally speaking, changed, with an increased awareness about knowns as well as unknowns related to the safety of nanomaterials and nano-related products.
Regulation can profoundly influence the path of the development of nanotechnology-related products and processes. Recommendations for future actions includes: facilitating multistakeholders approaches, setting a responsive and adaptive regulatory framework, with an appropriate balance between hard and soft regulation, continue the effort to foster international coordination and harmonization.
These are considered pivotal to pursue Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) as a driver for promoting competition and growth.
The ObservatoryNANO project (April 2008 - March 2012) provided a broad framework for observing and interconnecting the multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted aspects of nanotechnologies, aiming to support and facilitate strategic research and policy decisions in this field.
Reports, briefings, graphical and interactive interfaces are available on the project website, providing a landscape of development of nanotechnologies in 11 applications sectors, facing aspects related to Technology & Market, Research & Innovation, Environment, Health and Safety issues (EHS) , Regulation & Standards, Ethical and Societal Aspects (ELSA).