HSL to establish CiNR, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Nano-research

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - 17:19 GMT Jump to Comments

The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) has today announced that they will be launching an innovative Centre for Interdisciplinary Nano-Research (CiNR) towards the end of this month. This represents the latest step in a £1m programme of nanotechnology research funded by HSL in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSL announcement follows the publication of a review of Government progress in the fields of NanoSciences and Nanotechnologies, last week by the Council for Science and Technology (CST).

The CST review, whilst generally critical of Government investment in nanoscience research, states: "The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) have committed substantial resources to nanotechnologies work, particularly for workplace exposure."

"Overall, CST finds that HSE and HSL have been thorough and conscientious authorities in the work that they have done to promote the safe development and handling of nanomaterials."

The launch of the new CiNR will build on HSE and HSL's contribution to the wider research effort in this important area. Also, unlike most other 'centres of excellence' in the nanotechnology field, it will cover a range of expertise from 'Explosion to Exposure'.

"The launch of the new Centre will enable HSL to translate its cutting-edge health and safety research into real workplace solutions for the nanotechnology industry," said HSL Chief Executive Eddie Morland.

"We are committed to making the CiNR the most wide ranging and accessible centre in the UK to look at the potential risks and hazards in this somewhat unknown and fast moving field. Given the unusual breadth of our scientists' knowledge, we will be looking at everything from large scale explosion potential to the toxicological impact of these materials on the cell."

HSL's nanotechnology-based research has already attracted some interest from industry and the new Centre will act as a focal point to enhance this important interaction. CiNR scientists and engineers will be actively engaging with a wide range of manufacturers, universities and other groups working with nanomaterials to provide both advice and practical research into their issues.

It is envisaged that the new CiNR will directly lead to a greater understanding and subsequent control of the potential health and safety issues relating to nanotechnology.

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NOTES FOR EDITORS:
The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL, http://www.hsl.gov.uk) is Britain's leading industrial health and safety facility with over 30 years of research experience across all sectors. Operating as an agency of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), we support their mission to protect people's health and safety by ensuring risks in the changing workplace are properly controlled. HSL's main laboratory facility is located at Buxton, Derbyshire.

"Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies: A review of Government's Progress on it's Policy Commitments" was published by the Council for Science and Technology (CST) on March 27th 2007. It presents an appraisal of progress on actions after two years, as set out in the UK Government's response (2005) to a joint Royal Society / Royal Academy of Engineering (RS/RAEng) report entitled "NanoScience and Nanotechnologies: Opportunities and Uncertainties", published in July 2004. The CST review can be viewed at http://www2.cst.gov.uk/cst/news

HSE's involvement in nanotechnology started in the late 1990s with occupational hygiene interest in the manufacture and use of ultrafine particles such as carbon black and titanium dioxide, and exposure to inadvertently produced particles e.g. welding fume. Since then, it has evolved into being part of a pan-governmental programme to address the regulatory issues relating to nanomaterials. HSE input is on issues relevant to HSE's business (i.e. toxicology, occupational exposure and control and fire and explosion). However, HSE also contribute significantly on broader policy issues and human health matters and are members of the Nanotechnology Issues Dialogue Group (NIDG) and the Nanotechnology Research Coordination Group (NRCG).

HSL has been engaged in nanotechnology research for a similar period of time and have contributed to the scientific knowledge of the area at UK National, European and Worldwide levels during this time. In October 2004, HSL hosted the "First International Symposium on Occupational Health Implications of Nanomaterials" at Buxton, Derbyshire attended by participants from around the world.

The new "Centre for Interdisciplinary Nano-Research" at HSL will be launched towards the end of April 2007. The scope of work covers a range of capabilities including workplace monitoring and environmental exposure assessment, nanoparticle characterisation, control and filtration, toxicological assessment of nanoparticles, assessment and control of the fire and explosive potential of nanoparticles, personal protective equipment (PPE) including respiratory protective equipment (RPE), physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modelling, biological monitoring, and horizon scanning activities.

For further details please contact :

Simon Hill, HSL Nanotechnology Business Manager
tel: 01298 218833; simon.hill@hsl.gov.uk

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