Posted: July 22, 2007

EPA nanotechnology risk research grants available

(Nanowerk News) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently has two open solicitations for research grants on environmental impact of engineered nanomaterials:
Detection and Monitoring of Engineered Nanomaterials
Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2007-GO-W1. Submission deadline: September 13, 2007.
EPA is especially interested in novel monitoring technologies or devices that can detect engineered nanomaterials. Such devices should not be labor or time intensive, should enable rapid, accurate monitoring, should be easy to operate and maintain, and should be inexpensive. The protection of human health and ecosystems requires sensors and monitoring devices capable of detecting target pollutants at extremely low concentrations. In addition, risk assessment and risk management policies require distinguishing between various environmental contaminants for accurate source information and emission data.
Examples of research may involve the following detection methods: molecular; piezoelectric cantilever; field and flow controlled; electrical; optical and multi-analyte.
Outputs expected from the research funded under this RFA include the development of sensors for efficient and rapid in situ biochemical detection and monitoring of pollutants and specific pathogens in the environment; devices capable of real-time, continuous measurement over large areas; devices that are capable of detecting a variety of compounds simultaneously; and devices that utilize lab-on-a-chip technology. Expected outcomes will provide improved monitoring and detection capabilities that will result in minimization of the impact of pollutants on human health and the environment.
Nanotechnology Research Grants Investigating Fate, Transport, Transformation, and Exposure of Engineered Nanomaterials
Funding Opportunity Number: 1) >EPA-G2007-STAR-R1 Environmental and biological fate, transport, and transformation; 2) EPA-G2007-STAR-R2 Human exposure/bioavailability. Submission deadline: August 22, 2007.
The RFA sponsors are particularly interested in supporting research related to engineered nanomaterials in any of the following areas: (1) environmental and biological fate, transport, and transformation of engineered nanomaterials and (2) human exposure/bioavailability.
Environmental and biological fate, transport, and transformation of engineered nanomaterials
Information about fate, transport, and transformation is necessary to estimate exposure to engineered nanomaterials. Relevant research questions might include but are not limited to: By what means do (can) engineered nanomaterials enter the environment? What are the modes of dispersion/aggregation for nanomaterials in the environment? Do engineered nanoparticles undergo transformation in the environment? How do nanomaterials transfer from one media to another?
Relevant goals of this research include increasing scientific knowledge on the partitioning of nanomaterials in various media and increased data on movement and transformation capacities. Unique characteristics of nanophase and nanoparticulate transport, bioavailability and potential human interactions and how they can be distinguished from background environmental influences are of particular significance. Outputs may include providing researchers with critical information concerning the fate of engineered nanomaterials and progress review and other workshops geared towards increasing the collaboration and coordination of environmental research on engineered nanomaterials at both national and international levels. Outcomes include the enhancement of environmental protection through the increased availability of important fate and transport data on these materials and increased knowledge gained concerning the fate, transport, and transformation of engineered nanomaterials as they enter and move through various ecosystems.
Human exposure and bioavailability
How humans and other living organisms may be exposed to engineered nanomaterials that enter the environment is a critical research need. When and in what form such exposures may occur are not known, nor are the organism level responses to nanoparticulates or other nanophase materials. However, if there is no exposure, there are no health risks. Relevant research questions might include but are not limited to: When might relevant exposures occur? Upon exposure, in what form is the engineered nanomaterial ? physical, chemical, morphological? What forms of nanomaterials are bioavailable? Are some subpopulations more vulnerable to nanomaterial exposure? Are more toxic metabolites formed in biological systems? What are the exposure pathways for humans? How can exposures be quantified? Do engineered nanoparticles bioaccumulate through the food chain? How are nanomaterials translocated from one organ to another?
Relevant goals of this research include providing scientific information concerning the potential effects on the ecosystem of engineered nanomaterials that may initially impact one or more organisms and improved data on biotransformation, ecotoxicity, bioaccumulation and bioavailability capacities.
Source: EPA
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