European Safety and Sustainability Assessment: Fit for the Future

NanoHarmony Policy Meeting

European Safety and Sustainability Assessment: Fit for the Future

Brussels, 23 May 2023

In Brussels, the NanoHarmony project brought together policymakers and regulators, industry and industry bodies, OECD representatives and national coordinators and representatives of standardisation and metrology bodies from the EU and member states to discuss the way forward for a European Test Methods Strategy.

During the day, delegates learned about the need for a coherent European approach to support internationally accepted standardised test methods to ensure that the goals addressed in the European Green Deal and the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability can be delivered whilst building trust in safe innovation and ensuring the competitiveness of European industry. The NanoHarmony project presented a coherent approach to achieving the needed test methods for ensuring that European regulations are fit for the future.

Delegates heard from both regulators like the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and industry about the need for a test methods strategy. The achievements made over the last few years as part of the Malta Initiative to provide new test methods for nanomaterials and the needs for the next generation of advanced materials as part of the Advanced Materials Initiative 2030 (AMI2030) were also presented.

Thomas Kuhlbusch, Federal Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA, Germany) and NanoHarmony Coordinator said, “NanoHarmony has shown the rapid advances that can be made to ensure that effective test guidelines are in place for nanomaterials by bringing together all relevant stakeholders and how this approach can be used for tomorrow’s advanced materials. Continued support through a coherent European Test Methods Strategy will help ensure that safe and sustainable material innovations can be brought to the market for the benefit of European citizens.”

Andrej Kobe stated in the opening of the event “DG Environment welcomes the work and achievements of NanoHarmony. New and highly relevant test methods for regulations such as REACH were finalised and agreed. It is important that test methods for regulatory purposes are continuously updated and developed to support effective regulatory implementation. As demonstrated by NanoHarmony, scientific community is instrumental in that regard.”

Eric Bleeker, The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM, Netherlands) and author of the NanoHarmony White Paper presented during the meeting says, “The need for a better strategy to coordinate test method developments became more than evident during NanoHarmony. EU research funding has led to great advances in science. This includes contributions to new and needed test methods usable for regulatory testing. But there needs to be something in place to help these methods through the process to become harmonised OECD Test Guidelines!”

Philippe Jacques, Co-Chair of the AMI2030 Initiative, says “It is great to see the progress that has been made in developing test methods for nanomaterials and we need this extended to other advanced materials. A formal strategy and structure to support the development of future test methods will help ensure that we can make similar advances for safe and sustainable innovations in advanced materials.”

Blanca Suarez, Regulatory Affairs Director at the Nanotechnology Industries Association says, “Industry needs the certainty of acceptance that OECD Test Guidelines provide. They allow new innovations to reach the market safely and efficiently and help enable global trade. The NIA and its members would welcome the development of a coherent test methods strategy to cement the advances made during NanoHarmony and allow new test methods to be effectively advanced into new Test Guidelines and bring together all relevant stakeholders to ensure that this happens.”

Attendees at the European Safety and Sustainability Assessment: Fit for the Future event heard from speakers about how industry, regulators, member states, NGOs and scientists contribute to and use OECD Test Guidelines and the need for a coherent European approach to ensure safe innovation and support European industry. As part of the larger Malta Initiative NanoHarmony has supported the development of a European Test Methods Strategy as a coordinated effort will lead to better outcomes for European industry and citizens.

To help the development of future Test Guidelines, NanoHarmony is developing a White Paper with recommendations for policymakers, an online tool to help future test method developers and training materials that can be used to help educate the next generation of scientists. Further details of these project outcomes will be published in September 2023.

See here for the proposed European Test Methods Strategy.

For further information, images of the event or to interview relevant NanoHarmony people, please contact the NanoHarmony Project Manager Seden Caglar (